[Warning: Potentially Triggering Content]
A Navy sailor is being held in a Connecticut jail after allegedly murdering his wife and starting a house fire that injured his infant son.
George Dodson, a 23-year-old sailor, has been charged with murder, first-degree arson, risk of injury to a minor, tampering with evidence, first-degree reckless endangerment, animal cruelty, and two counts of criminal attempted murder. Police in the city of New London, Connecticut allege that Dodson admitted to the incident during an interaction with a paramedic after it happened.
According to local news reports, the deadly house fire occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. local time on Wednesday of last week. Fire officials in New London were called to reports of a structure fire at the Dodsons’ home. When they got to the scene, they found the home engulfed in flames.
According to a statement from the New London PD, firefighters quickly learned the fire was fatal after finding the body of a woman inside:
“Upon arrival, the New London Fire Department observed signs of an active fire and immediately initiated services to extinguish the working fire. Inside of the residence, fire department personnel located a 23-year-old female victim and a one-year-old male victim.”
Police did not initially release the name of the deceased woman. But according to NBC Connecticut, on Friday the New London PD identified her as Dodson’s wife, 23-year-old Shelby Dodson.
After discovering the woman’s lifeless body and the injured baby, firefighters found the sailor in the backyard of the home. He was reportedly covered with blood and soot. Paramedics and police saw he had “self-inflicted injuries” on both sides of his neck as well, according to The Day of New London.
The outlet further reports that Dodson apparently admitted to paramedics that he killed his wife in a violent rage. According to court docs obtained by the local news org, Dodson told officials on scene he allegedly killed his wife with a hammer before setting fire to the house.
He reportedly said to the first responders:
“We opened up our relationship and she found another man she loved more and I could not stand the thought of it, so I killed her.”
According to The Day, Dodson didn’t hold back in telling authorities what he allegedly did:
“I did this. I killed her.”
As for the couple’s one-year-old son, he was rescued from a crib in a second-floor bedroom. The baby was rushed to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital, then transferred to Yale New Haven Hospital for higher-level observation. As of Friday, per NBC Connecticut, the child is reported to be in stable condition with injuries that “are not believed to be life-threatening.”
The Dodson family’s two dogs were also in the home at the time of the fire, but managed to escape.
According to a U.S. Navy spokesperson, Dodson has been a member of the military organization for the last five years. He had been stationed in Connecticut for “about three years,” per the department. He is a second-class petty officer who had been working as an electronics technician in the military org’s nuclear department, per the spokesperson. Now, the Navy says they are cooperating with New London police investigators on the case.
Here is more on the terrible tragedy and its investigative aftermath:
Such a terrible incident. Sending condolences to Shelby’s loved ones — and hoping for the best for her surviving infant son.