Arrests made in Lowndes County church fire

20-year-old Jessica McKeitchen has been arrested and charged with theft by receiving stolen property. / Lowndes County Sheriff's Office

The Lowndes County Sheriff's Department has announced arrests in connection to a December 2012 fire at the Ously Road Church of God in Christ.

Officials say that the fire department was able to put out the fire, but that the church sustained heavy damage.

Police authorities say that since the fire, multiple agencies including the Sheriff's Office, Lowndes County Fire Rescue, the ATF, and Georgia State Fire Marshall's Office to discover the cause of the fire.

However, during the course of the investigation, numerous suspects were discovered after property had been pawned and sold to a store in Valdosta, which was stolen from a church in Morven.

Authorities say that this let to a different joint investigation being formed between the Lowndes, Brooks, and Thomas County Sheriff's Offices, and at this time do not believe that the event was a hate crime.

After interviewing suspects and collecting evidence, five people have been arrested and charged including 23-year-old Martavius Davis, 27-year-old Relandall Samuel, 22-year-old Archie Cone, 25-year-old Kelle Lawrence, and 20-year-old Jessica McKeitchen.

Davis and Samuel have been charged with first degree arson, second degree burglary, and vandalism to a place of worship. Cone and Lawrence have been charged with theft by receiving stolen property and theft by deception while McKeitchen has been charged with theft by receiving stolen property.

Sheriff Prine has stressed that this investigation is on-going and persons with information are asked to contact investigators at {229} 671-2950 or on-line at Anonymous tips can be provided at (229) 671-2985.

Stay connected to as stories develop and the FOX 31 Newscast at 10 PM. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to join in on the conversation and connect with FOX 31!