In the bedroom of the charred camper (or what was left of it after the flames had engulfed it) firefighters discovered the 10-year-old boy’s remains.
The child, Billy Adams, Jr., died of smoke inhalation after the RV where he lived with his father caught fire in the early morning on July 20 in Campti, Louisiana, according to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal. Firefighters arrived at the scene just after 12:30 a.m. that day.
“The structure was a total loss,” Natchitoches Parish firefighters wrote on Facebook after the blaze.
But the boy’s father wasn’t in the RV during the fire — because he was busy doing drugs with the boy’s grandmother, authorities said.
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Authorities have charged 36-year-old Billy Adams, Sr., and 54-year-old Regina Vanzant with negligent homicide in the child’s death, according to state authorities.
After the fire and the child’s death, Adams was on the run from law enforcement until July 23, according to fire officials.
Once he had been apprehended, Adams confessed to investigators that he and his mother (the boy’s grandmother) had been under the influence at the time of the child’s death, authorities said. That left the child entirely unsupervised.
Adams also admitted to fire investigators that in the month leading up to the fire he had been running exposed wiring from the RV where he and the child lived to the trailer next to it, where his mother lived, authorities said. The wiring didn’t conform to legal requirements or adhere to safety codes.
Investigators deemed the cause of the fire “undetermined,” but added that they can’t rule out electrical malfunction.
A next-door neighbor who witnessed the fire told KSLA he would remember the boy fondly.
“He used to come over here and he wanted me to put some air in his bicycle tire for him, you know. Fix his bicycle,” Douglas Reliford said, according to KSLA. “Sure gonna miss him.”
Adams was booked at the Natchitoches Parish Detention Center on Friday. There’s a warrant for Vanzant’s arrest, but she’s currently in custody in Jackson Parish on separate charges, and will be booked in Natchitoches Parish later, according to fire officials.
Bond for Adams and Vanzant is set at $750,000 each, authorities said.