web recurring crime scene tape (copy)

Charleston Police investigate a homicide in the parking lot of the Citadel Mall around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019 in West Ashley. Andrew J. Whitaker/Staff

Authorities have arrested a Murrells Inlet man after a woman was found dead on his boat following a fire on Friday.

Eric Justin Perry, a 35-year-old resident of U.S. Highway 17 Business, has been charged with one count each of murder and second-degree arson in connection with the incident, the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office said. 

Deputies were called at 10 a.m. to a fire at Perry's Bait and Tackle, 3965 U.S. 17 Business, the Sheriff's Office said.

"Witnesses observed a male leaving the area in a small vessel shortly after the incident," the Sheriff's Office said. "An exhaustive search of the area, conducted by members of the ... Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol unit, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the Coast Guard, was initiated."

Search teams found the vessel operated by Perry around 1 p.m., the Sheriff's Office said. A female's body was also found onboard.

The woman was identified as Jessica Lynn Hill, a 36-year-old Murrells Inlet resident, the Sheriff's Office said. An autopsy is scheduled for Saturday. 

The State Law Enforcement Division and the Sheriff's Office are investigating the fire.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office at 843-546-5102.

Anonymous tips can also be sent by using Text-A-Tip. Text the word "GCSOTIP" followed by the message to 274637.

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Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

Gregory Yee covers breaking news and public safety. He's a native Angeleno and previously covered crime and courts for the Press-Telegram in Long Beach, CA. He studied journalism and Spanish literature at the University of California, Irvine.

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