Cocos Fire female arson suspect in court

SAN DIEGO - A girl accused of setting a San Marcos-area wildfire in May that blackened nearly 2,000 acres and destroyed at least 36 homes appeared before a judge in Juvenile Court Wednesday morning.

The juvenile suspect is accused of igniting the Cocos Fire on the afternoon of May 14. A judge ruled today that she must not be outside without her parents between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. She will have a curfew. She will also undergo a mental competency evaluation at the request of her attorney.

Deputy District Attorney Shawnalyse Ochoa would not reveal the exact charges.

The blaze was one of a spate of more than a dozen wildfires that erupted in the San Diego area in critically hot, dry and windy conditions and raged for days, burning down 65 structures, including 46 single-family homes. Several apartments and commercial structures also were destroyed.

The fires scorched tens of thousands of acres, forced hundreds of evacuations and temporarily closed numerous schools and businesses. Damage to private property was estimated at a total of $29.8 million. Officials set the costs of extinguishing the wildfires at $27.9 million.

The other major blazes included the Bernardo and Poinsettia fires. The Bernardo Fire was determined to have been accidentally sparked by a backhoe. The cause of the Poinsettia Fire is still under investigation.
Investigators have found no evidence linking the suspect in the Cocos Fire to any of the other fires, sheriff's officials said.

She will be back in court Aug. 20, where a judge will review the results of her mental competency.

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