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Wanted arson suspects now in custody
1026 Smith Jamarcus
Jamarcus Smith

A mother and son accused of intentionally totaling a car to collect insurance money were arrested Tuesday in Savannah on arson and insurance fraud charges.

Tamika Smith, 36, and Jamarcus Smith, 18, both of Savannah, were caught after a Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department officer recognized them from a news release issued earlier in the day by the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office, according to ECSO spokesman Detective David Ehsanipoor.

The two had been wanted since last month, when their alleged co-conspirator in the crime, Ruth Jaudon, 51, of Guyton, was arrested and charged with arson and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

According to the ECSO, sheriff’s deputies responded on Sept. 1 to a report that a car had crashed and was on fire on Atlantic Avenue in Guyton. Tamika and Jamarcus Smith were both at the scene and gave deputies conflicting stories on what led to the crash, Ehsanipoor said.

Investigators later determined that Jaudon had conspired with the Smiths to total the car for insurance purposes. Tamika Smith crashed the car into a tree and then Jamarcus Smith crashed it a second time causing the vehicle to catch fire, according to Ehsanipoor.

Tamika and Jamarcus Smith were both charged with first-degree arson, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and criminal damage to property. They were transferred Tuesday from the Chatham County Jail to the Effingham County Jail.