PONCHATOULA, LA (WAFB) - A 26-year-old man is officially being charged for murder after he allegedly set a house on fire, which killed an 89-year-old woman. Officials revealed that the suspect knew the woman because he had been staying in her home as a guest.
Officials with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office held a press conference Thursday morning to announce details of this investigation.
The body of Dorothy Poche, 89, was recovered on Sunday, April 10 after firefighters put out a blaze at her home in Ponchatoula.
"Everyone in the community knew Mrs. Poche," said Sheriff Daniel Edwards. "She was very close to many of my deputies. One actually called her maw-maw, not because he was related to her, but because she was just a sweet lady."
After the initial investigation, inspectors with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal's Office found that the fire was started with fuel.
Deputies then found Poche's vehicle in Bogalusa.
Investigators identified Timothy Rouchon, 26, of Abbeville as a possible suspect and sent out a notice to local media.
"He did know Mrs. Poche," explained Edwards. "It is our belief that he did stay at this house on several occasions. He did know her grandson and that's how he knew her and this house."
Although investigators are still unclear as to why Rouchon set the home on fire, they claim he knew she was inside the house when he allegedly started the blaze.
On Tuesday, before it was announced that Rouchon was wanted in connection to this case, he had already turned himself over to authorities in East Feliciana Parish for unrelated warrants out for his arrest that were issued by the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.
Rouchon was first taken and booked into the Livingston Parish Prison. He was being held there on a bench warrant for theft and hit and run on a $10,000 bond.
Rouchon will be transported to the Tangipahoa Parish Prison to face charges for second-degree murder, obstruction of justice, theft of a vehicle, and aggravated arson.