Two men in custody in connection to Aynor fire and homicide

Two men are in custody in connection to a fire on Tuesday morning that left Charles Smith, 68, of Aynor dead.

Tommy Lee Benton, 20, of Chadbourn, North Carolina and Mitchell Douglas Cheatham, 19, of Council, North Carolina are both in custody in North Carolina facing unrelated charges, according to Lt. Robert Kegler with Horry County Police.

Kegler said both men are awaiting extradition to Horry County, as warrants have been issued.

They both face Murder and Arson charges in connection the fire.

Horry County Fire Rescue crews arrived on the scene of the fully involved mobile home fire shortly after it started around 2:45 a.m. on Highway 501.

Hours later, we learned the Horry County Police Department's Major Crimes Unit was investigating Smith's death as a homicide.

Based on what Detectives observed, it was determined that the fire was intentional and that a homicide took place as well.

This case remains active with more arrests possible.

The Horry County Coroner's Office says a preliminary autopsy report shows Smith died of asphyxiation due to the fire.

Investigators are


looking into a possible connection between Saturday's fire at the CBS Outlet in Aynor, which was owned by Smith, and the deadly fire at his home, according to Lt. Kegler.