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Battle Creek Arson Being Investigated As Murder


BATTLE CREEK, MI (WKZO) - The investigation into an arson fire in Battle Creek will now become a homicide investigation with the reported death of 8-year-old Karrina Johnson.

Her father confirms the family took her off life support at the Bronson Hospital Burn Unit on Friday. She was pulled from her burning home by firefighters. EMTs had to restart her heart and get her breathing again, but she remained in gravely critical condition, and was not expected to survive because of her injuries. Two older siblings were able to escape the fire after they were alerted to the flames by a passerby.

The person of interest in the case, Jesse Tatum, has not been charged with this crime, but he has been charged with assault and battery, domestic violence, and malicious destruction of property for his alleged involvement in a heated and violent argument involving the mother of the dead girl, Janeen Johnson, just before the fire. The two had a relationship that ended sometime ago. Detectives have questioned Tatum and another man about the fire, but not charged either at this point.