D.C. police say what initially appeared to be a fire has now turned into a murder investigation.
Just before 5 a.m. Sunday, D.C. firefighters responded to a vacant townhome in the 2700 block of Langston Place SE for a report of a fire. They found the burned body of 26-year-old Latroia Renee Smith inside. Authorities say her death was no accident; it appeared someone had set her on fire.
“This is too much for her mother to handle, or any of us,” said Taneka Curtis, Smith’s cousin.
Sources tell ABC 7 News Smith was shot before being set on fire. No one in her family knows why.
“That was uncalled for, how they tortured her,” Curtis said. “She was a very vibrant person … she loved to have fun, she loved family, she loved everything there is with living.”
Smith, who graduated from Ballou High School, was a mother to three boys. She also had several siblings. On Monday, it was her mother whose utter sadness ran so deep, she was beyond consoling.
“She can’t breathe,” Curtis said. “That’s all she knew was that little girl, that little girl grew up with her. That was her partner; no matter what they went through in life. Whenever they needed each other, they was there for each other.”
Now, Curtis says the family can only pray the community will be there for them and snuff out a killer who so violently ripped their lives apart.
“As a human being, I don’t think nobody deserves that at all,” Curtis said. “I just hope that whomever is brought to justice, for her mom’s sake.”
Metropolitan Police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 in the case. Anyone with information about Smith's murder is asked to call 202-727-9099 or text 50411. - wjla