Officials said the Markley Fire was set near a dam in Solano County where the burned body of Priscilla Castro was found. After an eight-month investigation, Vacaville police arrested Victor Serriteno and charged him with murder in Castro’s death.
Prosecutors will file to add two more murder charges and arson charges, Sheriff Tom Ferrara said at a news conference, seeing as two other people — Douglas Mai, 82, and Leon “James” Bone, 64 — were found dead from that fire in their homes. Ferrara revealed:
“Based on an extensive eight-month investigation, we believe Serriteno deliberately set the Markley Fire in an attempt to conceal his crime.”
Per officials, the fire began on August 18 — two days after detectives believe Castro went to Vacaville to meet Serriteno. She was reported missing by her family after she never returned from what authorities described as a prearranged date with the 29-year-old.
Authorities said that Serriteno looked up information on Castro before they met. He reportedly later admitted to detectives that he met Castro the day she disappeared, but claimed they went their separate ways before her disappearance. Castro was never heard from again, and her burned body was found near Lake Berryessa the next month. At the time, Vacaville police said they believed that Serriteno killed Castro shortly after they met, based on cellphone records and other unspecified evidence.
Meanwhile, the Markley Fire merged with a larger blaze, the Hennessy Fire, which was later considered part of the massive “LNU Lightning Complex.” This larger complex of fires is considered one of the largest wildfires in California history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and resulted from two days of lightning strikes.
Serriteno was initially charged with murdering Castro last September, but was formally re-arrested at the jail this week on the new charges. He will be arraigned Friday.
RIP to all the victims.
[Image via Steve Searie/WENN]
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