Update: Mother Charged with Attempted Murder & Arson in Interstate Car Fire

Columbia Police Chief W.H. “Skip” Holbrook announces the arrest of a 23-year-old mother accused of intentionally harming her 14-month old child during a car fire on a busy Interstate.

Caylin  Allise Watson (DOB: 3-10-1997) of Elgin is currently housed at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center (ASGDC) charged with Attempted Murder, Arson – First Degree, Arson – Third Degree and Abuse / Infliction of Great Bodily Injury upon a Child.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, 2020, while parked along mile marker 1 on Interstate-126, westbound, Watson is accused of setting her car on fire while her son sat inside.

As a result, the child suffered severe burns all over his body and is in critical condition at the Augusta Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia. Watson was initially treated at a local hospital for minor injuries before being taken to jail.

Four bystanders who were all traveling in the same direction on the Interstate saw the car on fire and stopped to assist by either calling 9-1-1 or getting out of their vehicles to help the child.

Moments after the heroic efforts, CPD officers arrived on scene and the Columbia Fire Department (CFD) extinguished the flames. The suspect was immediately detained after evidence suggested that the fire may have been intentionally set.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) assisted CPD with processing the crime scene, including taking photographs and collecting evidence.

CPD investigators continue to determine the motive for the incident.

All persons arrested/charged are presumed innocent until or unless proven guilty in a court of law.

(We will include an Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center Booking Photograph of the suspect when it’s available).