MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — The death of a 26-year-old inmate earlier this week at Baldwin State Prison near Milledgeville is under investigation by state authorities as a homicide case.

A spokeswoman with the Georgia Department of Corrections identified the victim as David Michael Watson, who was serving a 25-year sentence on a conviction for aggravated sexual battery out of Coweta County.

State authorities have declined to comment on a number of questions from the newspaper about Watson’s death, including whether or not he was the victim of murder.

Sources have told the newspaper that Watson was murdered and his body later set afire.

Baldwin County Coroner John Gonzalez said Chief Deputy Coroner Ken Garland was called to the prison. Watson was pronounced dead at 9:10 a.m. Wednesday, according to Lori Benoit, a spokeswoman with the Georgia Department of Corrections.

Gonzalez said an autopsy was performed Thursday morning at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Crime Laboratory in Macon to determine the cause of Watson’s death, but preliminary results still were pending as of Friday afternoon.

“The death is believed to be the result of foul play,” Gonzalez said.

When asked whether Watson’s body showed any visible signs of burns, Gonzalez replied that there were “significant burns” about his body.

The case remains under investigation by investigators with the Georgia Department of Corrections and special agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

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