A former Union County prosecutor was identified Tuesday afternoon as the victim of a fatal fire in Weddington on Monday.
The medical examiner’s office identified the victim as Anne Taylor Reeves, 38, the Union County Sheriff’s Office said.
The cause of the fire at Reeves’ home in the 3300 block of Ironwood Drive remains under investigation. Authorities may learn the cause of death within a week or so, sheriff’s office spokesman Tony Underwood said.
She had a kind heart and a deep passion for victims.
Union County DA Trey Robison
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“Our hearts go out to the family of Mrs. Reeves,” Sheriff Eddie Cathey said in a statement. “Rest assured we will continue to investigate this matter and look into every possible cause of her death and this fire.”
Reeves spent four years working for District Attorney Trey Robison before leaving the office last summer, and also had worked for him as an intern in the 1990s.
Robison, who considered Reeves a personal friend, called her an excellent attorney who was well-liked in local legal circles and cared deeply about her two school-age boys.
“She had a kind heart and a deep passion for victims, especially vulnerable ones like children and women who were domestic violence victims,” Robison said.
In the Monroe courthouse, many people were upset as word spread about the fire. “I had a defense attorney sitting across my desk, crying,” Robison said. “I could hardly stand it myself.”
In the courtroom, Robison said, Reeves was a tenacious fighter. He cited the high-profile child abuse case of Joshua Houser, where Reeves was lead prosecutor.
Houser was convicted of hurting stepdaughter Kilah Davenport so badly in 2012 by ramming her head through a wall that the then 3-year-old nearly died from her injuries.
Shortly before the case went to the jury, Reeves played a video in the courtroom, taken before the injuries, of a laughing Kilah riding a toy bike in a backyard.
“That sound, of bubbly laughter, (Houser) took her voice,” Reeves said. “The sound she makes now is a continued low moan. It sounds kind of like an animal’s. You don't want to look at it. She never deserved this. No child deserves this.”
After Kilah died in March 2014 Houser was charged with second-degree murder. Reeves was not involved in that case, where Houser pleaded guilty and was sentenced in 2015 to a minimum of 13 years in prison.
After Reeves left the district attorney’s office, she worked in private practice and also as a part-time contract attorney for the Monroe Police Department from January to June.
The fire investigation
The victim’s remains were found in a vehicle in the basement garage, and officials believe the fire started there. That vehicle, a pick-up truck, was towed out of the home around mid-day Tuesday.
Authorities found flammable liquids in the garage that could have been responsible for popping sounds neighbors heard, Underwood said.
Sheriff’s detectives, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents, SBI agents and the county fire marshal’s office are working on the investigation.
“We now know who she was,” he said. “Now we have to ask how did she die and was there a crime committed.”
The two story, 2,500-square-foot house stood mostly intact Tuesday morning, though the fire had taken chunks of the gray shingled roof, leaving charred beams exposed. Piles of items sat in the front yard under a blue canopy, including a bare, gray mattress.
Reeves and her husband, David, were married in 2003, and they had lived at the house since 2013, records show.
The victim was the only person at the home at the time of the fire, which was reported in the early afternoon Monday, Underwood said.
Observer reporter Mark Price and researcher Maria David contributed.