Suspect charged in connection with fatal home fire in Sumiton


Sumiton Police believe person discovered in house fire was held against their will

Sumiton Police confirm Ryan Glen Parker Phillips is charged with 2nd degree arson in connection with Tuesday's fatal mobile home fire.


The person whose body was discovered Tuesday night in the remains of a mobile home fire may have been held with her son against their will, according to his account to Sumiton Police.

The body was discovered by firefighters around 7:30 p.m. inside a mobile home on the 300 block of Whitlow Road. The fire is now being investigated as a case of arson and homicide by the State Fire Marshal's Office and Sumiton Police.

Walker County Coroner Joey Vick said the body will undergo forensic testing for positive identification but family members and neighbors say the house belonged to 79-year-old Mary Helen Dill. Authorities confirm Dill's son, who lived with her at the house, told police the two were held inside against their will and that he was able to escape the fire but Dill was not.

A person of interest was taken into custody Wednesday morning by law enforcement near the Walmart in Adamsville. The man is expected to be questioned by Sumiton Police. It was uncertain in the hours after he was found whether or not he would be criminally charged, said Sumiton Police Chief T.J. Burnett. (For this reason, ABC 33/40 News has chosen not to report his name.)

"We're a pretty laid back community. I mean we have our share of problems but we're pretty laid back. Most people are kin or know one another here. Everybody really gets along. This is really out of the norm for people and there's a lot of people in town talking about it," said Burnett.

Sumiton Police Chief T.J. Burnett addresses local media at the scene:

Story was updated at 11:18 p.m. Check back for further updates.