A fire in California that killed two people last year was intentionally set up to cover up a murder, investigators revealed at a press briefing.
The Markley fire started in Solano County, northern California on August 18, 2020, near where police found the burnt body of missing 32-year-old Priscilla Castro.
Authorities previously said Castro was reported missing after meeting Victor Serriteno two days before the fire. She has not been seen again.
“Based on a comprehensive eight-month investigation, we believe Serriteno deliberately started the Markley fire in an attempt to cover up his crime,” Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara said on Wednesday.
Serriteno, who was arrested in September and charged with killing Castro, now faces additional charges of arson and murders of the two men – Douglas Mai, 82, and Leon “James” Bone, 64 – who died in their homes as a result of the fire.
The Markley fire then merged with a series of other fires to form the LNU Lightning Complex, one of the largest wildfires in state history, according to the Department of Forestry and Protection. the California fires.
The other fires are believed to have been started after nearly 11,000 lightning strikes struck the northern part of the state as it suffered a historic heat wave.
Collectively, the fire complex burned more than 363,000 acres across famed California wine country and torched nearly 1,500 structures after forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.
The massive blaze tore through the area north of San Francisco for two months and killed six people.
(This story was not edited by UK Time News on Social Platforms.)