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Victim of fatal Athens house fire identified

By Joe Johnson

The woman who perished in an Athens house fire last week has been identified as 62-year-old Lavonne Marie Mercia, according to Athens-Clarke County Coroner Sonny Wilson.

The woman’s remains were discovered by firefighters who responded the morning of Feb. 23 to the house fire on Georgia Drive in the Carr’s Hill neighborhood off Oak Street in east Athens.

Wilson said the woman was so badly burned her identity was not positively made until Saturday by personnel at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s State Crime Lab.

Mercia had lived alone, so Wilson indicated that he was almost certain from the start that she was the victim, but he said that Crime Lab staff needed to use medical records and fingerprint comparisons to make a positive identification.

An Athens-Clarke County Fire and Emergency Services Department official on Thursday said the fire did not appear to have been due to foul play, but an investigation was continuing to determine its cause.

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