Murder victim died of asphyxia
Positive identification made through twin sister's DNA sample
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 1:00 AM
A woman whose remains were found in a mobile home fire on March 2 died from asphyxia, a preliminary autopsy report showed.
The remains of Terri Lee Gwyn, 29, of 100 Sistrunk Ave., Lot 3, were positively identified through DNA testing, Medical Examiner Allen Collins said.
The preliminary autopsy showed that Gwyn was deceased prior to the fire.
"Her death was due to asphyxia," Collins said.
A DNA sample was provided by her twin sister in North Carolina for identification purposes, he said.
Daniel Larry Williamson, 47, who lived with Gwyn in the mobile home, was charged with murder and arson in connection with her death and the mobile home fire, which was reported at 5:15 a.m. on Saturday, March 2.
The autopsy was ordered to determine the cause of death after an accelerant was detected on the bed where the remains were found, Fire Investigator Ralph Sciple said.
During an initial hearing last week, Municipal Court Judge Steve Cumberland denied Williamson bond on the murder charge. Bond on the arson charge was set at $50,000.
Gwyn moved to Philadelphia from North Carolina.
Friends described her as a smart and bright young woman who was pursuing a paralegal degree. She had previously worked at Wal-Mart.
Under the personal information section on her Facebook page, Gwyn wrote that she wanted a simple life, a good career, a home and happiness.
"I'm a small town girl who is crazy," she wrote. "I love to read and play chess. I love to talk, laugh, love and live. I use to be too scared to believe in the best thing that life can give. Now I endure the road that is up ahead and hopefully things will work out the way it should."
Gwyn's friends hosted a Domestic Violence Candlelight Memorial Saturday evening in DeWeese Park. Many wore purple clothing and donned purple ribbons to raise awareness about domestic violence.
Purple balloons were released at the end of the memorial.
Sciple said the mobile fire started in a bedroom to the right of the front door.
Smoke was pouring out of windows and doors when two fire engines and the city's rescue truck arrived.
Firefighters battled the blaze for nearly an hour before it was brought under control.
Three days earlier, on Wednesday, Feb. 27, Williamson was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after he refused a Breathalyzer test. He was also charged with no driver's license and no seatbelt. He was released from jail on bond later that same day.
Sciple said he was called to the scene of the fire after first responders deemed the source of the fire suspicious.
"When I got there an accelerant was detected on the bed where the remains were at," Sciple said.
Samples were taken to the state crime lab.