MERIDIAN, Miss. (AP) — A man suspected in the shooting deaths of a woman and her 8-year-old son was arrested Tuesday about 45 miles (72 kilometers) east of where the deaths occurred, authorities said.
Lauderdale County sheriff’s deputies arrested a suspect they identified as James Salento Fulgham Jr. one day after the bodies were found in Scott County. Coroner J. Van Thames identified the victims as Zina Williams, who Thames said was in her 40s, and her son, Zacchesus Williams.
Lauderdale County investigators determined a vehicle that was wanted in connection with the homicides was found in a wooded area near a home where the suspect previously lived, said Lauderdale County Chief Deputy Ward Calhoun, III.
“Investigators saturated the area and began the process of a search warrant for a residence,” he said in a statement. “While in the process of preparing to approach the residence, the suspect was spotted in a vehicle (that) stopped at another residence across the road. Fulgham was taken into custody without incident.”
It was unknown if Fulgham has an attorney who could speak on his behalf. Calhoun said Scott County investigators had arrived and “are taking over the investigation.”
Exact charges were not immediately available.
The Scott County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the bodies were found Monday after firefighters responded to a house fire in Forest. Thames said it appears the victims were shot and then their home was deliberately set on fire.
“This is a small neighborhood. Everybody knows everybody,” Thames told WAPT-TV. “It doesn’t just affect the family, it affects the friends of the family, school teacher — this is an 8-year-old child. From the information that we have, a very joyful little guy. It’s a sad occasion.”
Investigators believe an argument between Zina Williams and Fulgham, who authorities said was her boyfriend, preceded the shooting and fire.