Police: Woman killed prior to Oxon Hill apartment fire

OXON HILL, Md. (WUSA9) – The death of a woman found dead close to where a fire broke out inside an apartment building in Oxon Hill on Sunday is now being investigated as a homicide.

The victim has been identified as 21-year-old Latiqua Nicole Cherry of Oxon Hill.

According to Prince George's County fire spokesperson Mark Brady, firefighters responded to a small fire inside an apartment on the 600 block of Audrey Lane.

When firefighters entered the apartment unit, which was on the third floor, they found the body of a woman with burn injuries near the area where the fire originated. She was pronounced dead at the scene. The investigation shows that the fire was intentionally set. A medical examiner determined Monday that Cherry died from trauma to the body before the fire was set in her apartment. The manner of death has been ruled a homicide, police said.

Brady says a working smoking alarm was found inside the apartment. The base of the alarm was located in the proper area, but the actual alarm had previously been removed from the base and placed inside a hallway closet. The alarm will still able to detect smoke and emit a warning, but it was probably delayed because of its location.

Police do not believe this was a random act and they are working to identify a suspect and motive.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call the Prince George's County Police Department's Homicide Unit at 301-772-4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call CRIME SOLVERS at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), text "PGPD plus your message" to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to www.pgcrimesolvers.com and submit a tip online.

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