THOMASVILLE, Ga. — A domestic-violence saga that began in Thomasville during predawn hours Sunday ended late Monday afternoon when a suspect was arrested in Cairo and charged with arson.

The police and neighbors said the disturbance at 236 Royal Ave., Apartment A, at 12:22 a.m. Sunday was nothing new.

The apartment's occupant was out of town on vacation when neighbors flagged down a Thomas County Sheriff's Office deputy about a woman being in the apartment. The deputy saw a vehicle leave the dwelling and followed it onto Remington Avenue, authorities said.

"The vehicle turned off its lights and turned into the Hardee's parking lot in an attempt to elude the officer," Capt. Maurice Holmes, Thomasville Police Department Criminal Investigations Division commander, said

The deputy identified the driver as Shandreilca Katriyana Bowden, 21, 685 Third Ave., N.W., Cairo.

The apartment occupant, reportedly Bowden's estranged boyfriend, was contacted about the woman's presence in his apartment. He chose not to press charges, and Bowden was released.

At 11:34 a.m. Sunday, police were called about a fire at the apartment. Thomasville Fire/Rescue responded and extinguished a mattress fire behind the apartment.

Authorities said a police investigation indicated the fire was intentionally set on a mattress leaning against the rear wall of the apartment.

The apartment sustained fire damage, while three other apartments were damaged by smoke.

Witnesses familiar with Bowden's and the apartment dweller's "ongoing issues" saw the woman leave the apartment at the time of the blaze, Holmes said.

Warrants were issued for Bowden, charging her with first-degree arson and criminal trespass.

Late Monday afternoon, a Grady County Sheriff's Office deputy stopped a vehicle in Cairo at Ninth Street S.W. and Martin Luther King Boulevard in Cairo in which Bowden was a passenger.

Holmes said the suspect tried to hide, but the driver pulled over, saying she did not want to get in trouble because of her passenger's possible criminal activity.

Bowden is being held in the Thomas County Jail, where she is awaiting arraignment.

Holmes said that although Bowden and the boyfriend did not live together and did not have children, the case is an example of how violence between parties escalates when there is no intervention.

The commander suggested rage played a role in the incident.

Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.

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