Man Told Friends He Set His Girlfriend On Fire

GAUTIER, Miss. (AP) – Police say a 56-year-old man who is charged with killing his live-in girlfriend told people he set her on fire in the woods behind a church.

The burned body of 37-year-old Amanda Hicks was found March 18 behind the Pine Grove United Methodist Church in coastal Mississippi’s Jackson County. Her body was identified by dental records.

The Sun Herald reports James Vanlaningham is charged with first-degree murder. He appeared in court Monday and is being held without bail. The case will go to a grand jury. It was not immediately clear whether he is represented by an attorney.

Police Sgt. Nick Crocker says Vanlaningham told friends he set Hicks on fire a month before her remains were found. Crocker says the couple had a history of domestic violence.

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