BERTIE COUNTY -

Investigators have identified the man charged in the murder of an elderly woman found stabbed after her home caught fire in Bertie County.

Aaron Ray Riddick, 33, used an 8-inch knife to stab Bessie Mae White and stole $400 from her home, according to warrants from the Bertie County Sheriff's Office. Riddick has been charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon. Investigators said they believe the suspect and the victim are related.

White, who was in her 80s, was was found dead on March 4 in her home on the 1,600 block of Highway 45, just north of Colerain, said Bertie County Sheriff John Holley.

Crews got a call at about 8:30 p.m. that day that White's home was on fire. After the fire was extinguished, authorities found White face down in the den of the house, according to Sheriff Holley. The pathologist on the case said victim had several stab wounds.

"To witness or come up on something this tragic, it's really bad. It's really sad," said Sheriff Holley.

It's unclear whether it was the stabbing or the fire that killed the victim. Sheriff Holley said the cause of the fire is also under investigation.

White's funeral was held Wednesday afternoon at Zion Hill Church near Colerain. NewsChannel 12 went there and told some of White's friends about the arrest made.

"I hope they got the right one, and if it's the right one-- fine, good. Give him the chair and everything else," said Juanita Watford.

According to records, the suspect had previously served almost six years in prison for burglary and larceny. His brother is still in prison for murdering a female college student seven years ago in Bertie County.

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Deputies said an elderly woman found dead after a house fire in Bertie County was a victim of a homicide.

Bertie County Sheriff John Holley told NewsChannel 12 that Bessie Mae White, who was in her 80s, was found dead in her home on the 1,600 block of Highway 45, just north of Colerain.

Crews got a call at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday that White's home was on fire. After the fire was extinguished, authorities found White face down in the den of the house, said Sheriff Holley. The pathologist on the case said victim had several stab wounds.

White's younger brother, Alexander Slade, said White was like a mother to him.

"She served the community, and did everything good she could for the community. I was just tore up to hear it," Slade said.

Michael Jackson is White's godson. White hosted family reunions at her home sometimes, according to Jackson.

"Even if we didn't have family cookouts, just being there with the family was awesome," Jackson said.

Slade said his last memory of White is how well she cooked.

"She always was loveable. Always wanted to cook for you, never going to leave hungry," Slade said.

The sheriff knew White growing up. So far, no suspect has been identified, Sheriff Holley said. There is no word on a motive.

Sheriff Holley said he wants everyone to know what has happened in this area.

"I just wanted everyone in the community to know what has happened here and to definitely keep their eyes and ears open," Sheriff Holley said.

It's unclear whether it was the stabbing or the fire that killed the victim. Sheriff Holley said the cause of the fire is also under investigation.

According to Sheriff Holley, White had been living in the home by herself, and was known in the community as a seamstress.

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Deputies are investigating a house fire in Bertie County that killed one person.

According to Emergency Management Director Mitch Cooper, the fire happened at a home on the 1,600 block of Highway 45, just  north of Colerain. The blaze was reported at about 8:40 p.m. Tuesday.

One person inside the home died, said Cooper. But the victim's identity has not been released.

There is no word on the cause of the fire, but the Bertie County Sheriff's Office is investigating.