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Cops: Deadly Wildfire Was Set to Cover Up Murder

Victor Serriteno murdered his date, then set Calif.'s Markley fire that killed 2, officials say
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2021 6:54 AM CDT

(Newser) – Police arrested Victor Serriteno in September and charged him with murder after the body of 32-year-old Priscilla Castro was found at a dam in California's Solano County. Now officials are accusing him of killing two more by setting a deadly wildfire to cover up Castro's death. NBC News reports that Serriteno is blamed for setting the Markley Fire, which began on Aug. 18, 2020, killing 82-year-old Douglas Mai and 64-year-old Leon "James" Bone in their homes, Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara said at a Wednesday presser. In September, Castro's burned body was discovered and Serriteno was arrested, with investigators saying they believed he'd gone to meet up with Castro for a date on Aug. 16.

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Castro wasn't seen again after that. Now, "based on an extensive eight-month investigation, we believe Serriteno deliberately set the Markley Fire in an attempt to conceal his crime," Ferrera said at the news conference. The Markley Fire eventually merged with the Hennessey Fire, which was part of the LNU Lightning Complex blazes that burned more than 363,000 acres and killed six. Insider notes that Serriteno has been in police custody since his September arrest. KCRA reports he'll be arraigned Friday, with prosecutors expected to add arson charges, as well as charges for two more homicides. (Read more California wildfires stories.)

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