A California man tortured a woman to death then started a fire at a mobile home park, police said.
Investigators in Tulare County, California, said Anthony Lawrence Barra, 24, was arrested after DNA evidence linked him to the scene of the homicide and suspected arson where Carol Hendon, 74.
On Jan. 21, a patrol car was dispatched to a suspicious person. Officers reportedly found a car with its doors and trunk open parked in the carport of the mobile home that “looked as if it had been rummaged through.”
When the officer stopped to investigate, they reportedly noticed smoke coming from the home. The officer tried to enter the home but was pushed back by the flames and smoke. Crews later found Hendon, who was reported dead inside, according to YourCentralalley.com.
The Tulare police and arson investigators took over the investigation regarding the fire because of the suspicious circumstances.
Authorities contacted Barra, who reportedly broke into a vehicle and was arrested on suspicion of burglary.
During the arrest, deputies say Barra had a gas can with him and violently resisted officers. He was later booked into county jail on charges of burglary, resisting an officer and a probation violation, according to The Tulare Police Department.
In the week leading up to fire, the Tulare experienced a rash of dumpster fires, which authorities believed Barra may have set.
On the same day of Barra’s arrest, police served a search warrant at his home, where authorities said they collected evidence linking him to the crime. Tulare Police reportedly received confirmation that DNA evidence collected at the scene matched Barra.
Detectives reportedly interviewed Barra and said he implicated himself and provided intimate details regarding Hendon's death.
Barra was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated arson, torture and destroying or concealing evidence, according to the Tulare County Public Defender's Office.
"It was almost like we were stacking up evidence," Tulare Police Sergeant Eddie Hinojosa told KMPH 26 News.
"We feel like we have plenty of evidence. We have the video, we have the evidence that I won't mention what it is...found in his house. But I think that the DNA evidence confirming he was at the scene, kind of sealed the deal for us."
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