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Ridgecrest woman found dead in burning home died from cut throat

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Posted at 1:56 PM, Jul 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-10 16:57:53-04

RIDGECREST, Calif. — The Kern County Coroner's Office ruled a woman found dead inside a burning home in Ridgecrest died from a cut throat.

KCSO said 54-year-old Vickie Lynne Ryno Smith's death was ruled a homicide after she was found inside a burning home in the 500 block of Cottonwood Drive back in June.

The Ridgecrest Police Department arrested a suspect believed to have started the fire.

According to RPD, George Smith Jr. was arrested after fleeing from officers during a traffic stop. With assistance from the Kern County Sheriff’s Department, Smith Jr. was apprehended in the 900 block of S. China Lake Blvd.

Police said the fire was started at around 10 a.m. on June 30. When they arrived fire crews discovered a single-family residence with flames and smoke coming from multiple sides of the home. Firefighters noticed a car parked in the driveway and were told that the people might still be inside the home.

Crews were able to quickly bring the fire under control but found a woman dead inside.

Smith Jr. was arrested for murder, arson, and felony evading charges and later booked at the Central Receiving Facility in Bakersfield.