RUSTON, La. (KTVE/KARD)— According to firefacts.org, 4,000 Americans die yearly in house fires and over 2,000 are severely injured. In 2007, a fatal fire took the life of a Bastrop woman. That fire turned into an arson/murder investigation and authorities say they’re still looking for new leads.
Behind the trees and brush along Down Woods Road in Ruston, Louisiana liest the remnants of a murder mystery. What was once the brick home of 25-year-old Ronia Washington is now a pile of charred rubble. It’s there where Ronia’s body was found burned beyond recognition.
“For eleven years, it’s up and down, up and down of knowing that the person that did this to her and they’re living their life and their family is not feeling the pain that we are still feeling”, says Washington’s older sister Precious Arkansas.
Ronia nicknamed “Candy” by family and friends, enjoyed the outdoors, and is remembered by loved ones for her playful and charismatic personality. “She was life. Wherever she was, she was the life of the party. She was the life of the family”, says her mother Lenora Hicks.
Fifteen years later, her murder still haunts her family, visiting her sister in her dreams. “She would come to me in dreams and she would tell me she was okay. I’m ok. I’d say I’m trying Candy, I’m trying to find out what happened”, Arkansas explains.
Officials are also taking the cold case personally. Captain Rusty Edwards with the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office says, “Ronia, even though I did not know her directly, she was very closely associated with some of my childhood friends, some of my best friends to this day”. In 2019, Edwards reviewed old evidence, hoping that new technology would help provide a new lead in the case.
“I will get them one day. I know I will. It’s time for someone to come forward and close this for the family, for Ronia.”Louisiana State Fire Marshal Captain Rusty Edwards
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 318-388-CASH. There is still a $25,000 reward for anyone who can provide a lead to close this case.