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Man accused of starting deadly Northern California wildfire to cover up alleged killing

fire flames
Posted at 10:11 AM, Apr 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 14:49:43-04

VACAVILLE, Calif. (AP) -- A man charged with killing a woman in Northern California has been arrested on suspicion of setting a fire to cover up the crime that spread and killed two other people.

Solano County authorities say Victor Serriteno was booked Wednesday after an eight-month-long criminal investigation. He is expected to face new charges of arson and murder for the deaths of the people who died in the Markley Fire last August.

Authorities say they believe Serriteno set the fire to cover up his murder of Priscilla Castro during a date.

The wildfire erupted two days after Castro vanished. Serriteno has pleaded not guilty to that killing.

In the aftermath of the fire that started on Aug. 18, officials say they found two victims deceased in their homes, 82-year-old Douglas Mai and 64-year-old Leon “James” Bone. Additionally, the body of a missing person, later identified as Castro, was discovered in the Stebbins-Cold Canyon area.

The sheriff’s office released a map showing the boundaries of the fires and locations of each of the recovered victims.

Scripps National Digital Producer Kyle Hicks contributed to this report