A man has been charged in the deaths of a pregnant mother and her young daughter in a Philadelphia-area fire a few days before Thanksgiving last year.
Prosecutors in Bucks County said Friday that 21-year-old Marcel Emmanuel Johnson of Levittown had been linked to the crime by DNA evidence. He is charged with criminal homicide, homicide of an unborn child, arson and possessing an instrument of crime.
Ebony Talley, 22, and her 4-year-old daughter R'Mani Rankins were found dead inside an apartment complex in Bristol Township, Pa. on Nov. 25 following a fire. Friends and family say Talley was five months pregnant at the time of her death.
"She was a good person," said Talley's cousin, Dani Hodges. "She took care of her daughter. She loved her sisters and brother."
The fire broke out at the Avalon Court Apartment Complex on the 3500 block of Bristol Oxford Valley Road -- not far from the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Firefighters controlled the blaze shortly after.
Officials soon discovered the bodies of Talley and R'Mani, who were staying with a friend inside the complex. Talley was pronounced dead at the scene. R'Mani was taken to the hospital where she later died.
According to the Bucks County District Attorney's Office, someone stabbed both Talley and her daughter and set a fire to cover it up.
"It's too fast," said Marquis Johnson, a friend of the victims. "It sounds fishy. It sounds like they were set up or something like that."
According to an affidavit, Johnson was the last person at the scene with Talley and her daughter before their deaths.
Court documents don't list an attorney for Johnson and a listed number for him couldn't be found.