ATLANTA (AP) — Five people found dead in a south Georgia house fire were actually shot, and the blaze was set intentionally as a cover-up, state law officers said Friday.
A man initially described as the fire's sole survivor, Jeffrey Alan Peacock, now faces charges of arson and murder in all five deaths.
Peacock, 25, was at the scene when fire crews arrived Sunday and was interviewed there, but investigators were suspicious from the start, according to Jamy Steinberg, a special agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.
"The first question in our mind is, 'how did five adults not get out of a burning house? So that's one of the things that piqued our curiosity from the onset," he said at a news conference.
Investigators hand-sifted the charred remains of the home near Moultrie in Colquitt County in search of evidence. An autopsy revealed gunshot wounds on all five bodies. Authorities then asked Peacock to come to the local sheriff's office, where he was taken into custody.
The GBI identified those killed as Jonathon Edwards, 21; Alicia Norman, 20; Reid Williams, 21; Jones Pidcock, 21; and Jordan Croft, 22.
Peacock knew the victims, but the motive for the killings is unknown, the GBI said.
Peacock was being held Friday in the Colquitt County Jail. It wasn't known whether he has a lawyer who could be reached for comment.