Man charged in Hamilton Township fire that killed his own 9-month-old daughter, child's grandparents

A witness told police the baby's mother received a text from Michael Sanders telling her to get the child out of the house.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Monday, July 12, 2021
Man charged in fire that killed 9-month-old, child's grandparents
Man charged in fire that killed 9-month-old, child's grandparents

HAMILTON TWP., New Jersey (WPVI) -- Officials in Mercer County, New Jersey have arrested and charged a man with murder in connection with a fatal fire in Hamilton Township.

Michael Sanders, 23, of Trenton, is facing murder, assault and arson charges in the Friday morning blaze that killed his 9-month-old daughter and the child's grandparents.

Michael Sanders

The fire started at about 3:40 a.m. on the 200 block of Woodlawn Avenue, officials said. The fire quickly engulfed both sides of the home causing a partial roof collapse.

The baby, identified as Malani Sanders, and 42-year-old Tiffany Abrams-Jones were found dead at the scene, officials said.

RELATED: Grandmother, 9-month-old granddaughter killed in Hamilton Township fire

Three people were taken to an area hospital with burn injuries.

According to officials, 50-year-old Prince Jones succumbed to his injuries on Sunday. Prince Jones and Tiffany Abrams-Jones were the baby's grandparents.

Detectives were able to retrieve video from cameras in the area and speak to witnesses. A witness told detectives that on the night of the fire one of the female residents of the home, who is also the mother of the 9-month-old, received a text message from the baby's father, Michael Sanders, telling her to get their baby out of the house.

According to investigators, Sanders took a taxi from Trenton and was seen wearing a dark-colored sweatshirt, a mask and white gloves. He was dropped off near the home on Woodlawn Avenue about 15 minutes before the fire broke out.

Detectives also obtained surveillance video from the Fast Trac Gas Station about 10 minutes before the fire, which showed Sanders buying a torch lighter and cigars.

Sanders was taken into custody early Monday morning at a hotel in Plainsboro, officials said. The prosecutor's office has filed a motion to detain Sanders pending trial.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call HTF Detective Jennifer Eyster at 609-989-6406.