- Associated Press - Sunday, February 28, 2016

ST. MARTINVILLE, La. (AP) - A 31-year-old man is accused of killing a former girlfriend and her elderly mother and setting a mobile home they were in on fire with gasoline, a state fire marshal official said Sunday.

Dereke Ross Siner was arrested Saturday after a high-speed chase by police that ended with him crashing a stolen vehicle, said Deputy Chief Brant Thompson.

Thompson said Siner faces two counts of first-degree murder and other charges, including aggravated arson and obstruction of justice. He was being held without bond in the West Feliciana Parish jail, where the chase ended.

Investigators said Adeline Etienne, 68, and her 30-year-old daughter, Jamie James, were found dead inside a mobile home on Saturday shortly after 4 p.m.

Thompson said investigators believe he killed the two women and then set the home on fire. The victims’ bodies showed signs of blunt force trauma, investigators said. Autopsies were expected to be done Monday.

“We suspect both were dead well before the fire,” Thompson said. He added that it appears Siner left the home and came back to set it on fire with gasoline.

At one time, Siner lived in the mobile home and had been a boyfriend of James, Thompson said.

Witnesses told investigators they heard loud noises at the home and saw Siner leaving it as smoke came from it.

Investigators said Siner drove off in a vehicle owned by James and fled St. Martin Parish in another vehicle, which he crashed in the Vermilion River in Lafayette Parish. Thompson said he then stole the vehicle of a woman who stopped to help him after he had crashed in the river. He crashed the woman’s car in West Feliciana Parish as police chased him, authorities said.

Thompson said Siner does not have a lawyer but would be assigned a public defender. He will be transferred to St. Martin Parish to face the charges against him, Thompson said.

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