Colonel Michael J. Winquist, Chief of the Cranston Police Department, announces that an arrest has been made as a result of an investigation of a fatal fire that claimed the life of a local woman and her unborn baby.
On November 13, 2015, at approximately 7:42pm the Cranston Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire at 35/37 Marcy Street, described as a three-floor apartment house. When Firefighters entered the 3rd floor apartment, they discovered the body of Aliss Collins, age 32. Firefighters transported Ms. Collins to Rhode Island Hospital where she and her unborn baby were pronounced dead. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire that was contained to the third floor apartment. Ms. Collins was the tenant of that apartment where she lived with a roommate. No other apartments were damaged, nor were any other tenants injured.
Shortly after the fire began, witnesses observed a subject leave the residence before running in a northerly direction down Marcy Street. Witnesses described the subject as a black male, approximately 240 pounds wearing an orange or red hooded sweatshirt and black shorts.
Based on observations made by Firefighters while inside the apartment, the residence was secured by the members of the Cranston Police Department who obtained a court-authorized search warrant for the residence. The scene was processed by the Cranston Police Department with the assistance of the Rhode Island State Police Forensic Services Unit.
An autopsy was conducted by the Rhode Island State Medical Examiner’s Office, which revealed the manner of death was homicide caused by blunt force trauma, smoke inhalation, with elevated levels of carbon monoxide. The unborn infant was unable to survive due to the death of Ms. Collins.
Detectives from the Cranston Police Department conducted a round-the -clock, intensive investigation working collaboratively with various law enforcement partners including the Rhode Island State Fire Marshal’s Office, Rhode Island State Police, Rhode Island Department of Attorney, as well as fire investigators from the Cranston Fire Department. This investigation led to the arrest of Born SMITH, age 29, of 106 Knight Street, Providence, Rhode Island. Mr. Smith was arrested last night without incident at approximately 11:00pm by Cranston Police and Providence Police Detectives after being observed walking on Penn Street in Providence. SMITH was an intimate partner of Ms. Collins for the past ten months. Physical evidence seized from Marcy Street, as well as strong circumstantial evidence developed during the course of the investigation led to Mr. Smith’s arrest.
Mr. Smith will be arraigned in Third District Court this afternoon on the following charges: Domestic First Degree Arson, Domestic First Degree Murder and Willful Killing of an Unborn Quick Child.
Colonel Winquist stated, “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Ms. Collins. This crime is particularly heinous as it took the life of both an expecting mother and her unborn child. I commend all of the Cranston Police Detective Division, as well as our law enforcement partners, who worked tirelessly over the past four days to ensure that the person believed to be responsible for this crime was arrested. I specifically want to publicly recognize Cranston Police Detectives John Cardone and Michael Iacone who were the lead detectives on the investigation, as well as Sergeant Patnaud of the Cranston Police Department Bureau of Criminal Identification and Lieutenant John Grassel of the Rhode Island State Police Forensic Services Unit. The investigation does not stop today, as detectives continue to follow up on further information
Smith was held without bail on charges of domestic first-degree arson, domestic first-degree murder and willful killing of an unborn child at his arraignment in District Court, Warwick, Wednesday afternoon. He is due back in court December 1, 2015.