A California man is believed to have started a deadly wildfire last year in order to cover up a murder, police say.
The Solano County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press conference after an eight-month investigation, they determined the cause of the 2020 Markley fire, which killed two people, was arson.
Those two deaths are now considered homicides, authorities said.
The wildfire started on Aug. 18, 2020, and officials said two victims died in their home — 82-year-old Douglas Mai and 64-year-old Leon “James Bone.
The body of missing person, Priscilla Castro, was also found in the wildfire burn area, police said.
The Vacaville Police Department arrested Victor Serriteno back in mid-September in connection with Castro’s death, according to authorities.
The Mercury News reported Castro was last seen on Aug. 16, 2020, and her family reported her missing after she failed to return from a prearranged date with Serriteno.
Serriteno admitted to investigators that he saw Castro on the day she disappeared, but claimed they parted ways and he didn’t know what happened to her, police said.
Based on cell phone records and other evidence, police believe Serriteno killed Castro shortly after they met. Serriteno was charged with murder and has been in custody since, police said.
Fire investigators determined Serriteno deliberately set the wildfire in an attempt to cover up his crime. Recently, authorities filed additional charges against Serriteno, which included murder and arson.
Serriteno remains in jail and his case and his case remains active.