California man charged with beginning lethal fireplace final summer season to cowl up lady’s homicide, investigators say

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In this photo from Sept. 11, 2020, Vacaville police arrest Serriteno in the murder of Castro.


A lethal fireplace that unfold and killed two folks in Northern California final yr was set off by a person trying to cowl up a homicide, investigators mentioned Wednesday.

Victor Serriteno, 29, of Vacaville, had already been arrested final September and charged with killing 32-year-old Priscilla Castro. Her burned physique was discovered on Sept. 2 close to Lake Berryessa.

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Following an eight-month investigation into the origins of the Markley Fireplace, Solano County officers named Serriteno as an arson suspect.

In this photo from Sept. 11, 2020, Vacaville police arrest Serriteno in the murder of Castro.

On this picture from Sept. 11, 2020, Vacaville police arrest Serriteno within the homicide of Castro.
(Vacaville Police Division)

“Primarily based on the intensive investigation, we imagine Serriteno intentionally set the Markley Fireplace in an try to hide his crime,” the Solano County Sheriff’s Workplace mentioned.

Castro had gone on a deliberate date with Serriteno in Vacaville on Aug. 16, however she was by no means heard from once more, Vacaville police beforehand mentioned.

Castro vanished after she on a date with Serriteno on Aug. 16, 2020, police have said. Investigators later determined the site where her body was found was also the origin of the Markley Fire.

Castro vanished after she on a date with Serriteno on Aug. 16, 2020, police have mentioned. Investigators later decided the location the place her physique was discovered was additionally the origin of the Markley Fireplace.
(Vacaville Police Division)

Two days later, a blaze dubbed the Markley Fireplace erupted within the space the place Castro’s physique was discovered and merged with different fires to change into the LNU Lightning Complicated, which triggered six deaths and destroyed about 1,500 properties and different buildings.

The Markley Fire merged with several other blazes to become the LNU Lightning Complex fire, pictured above, that spreadlast year in Vacaville, California.

The Markley Fireplace merged with a number of different blazes to change into the LNU Lightning Complicated fireplace, pictured above, that spreadlast yr in Vacaville, California.
(JOSH EDELSON/AFP by way of Getty Photos)

Two of the Markley Fireplace victims — 82-year outdated Douglas Mai and 64-year outdated Leon “James” Bone — have been discovered useless of their properties in unincorporated Solano County, investigators have mentioned.

“We misplaced the lives of three folks, numerous constructions, numerous animals and property countywide,” Vacaville Police Lt. Bryan Larsen mentioned. “We’re grateful we have been in a position to deliver some closure to this portion of the investigation. And hopefully serve some justice for individuals who have been affected by this fireplace.”

The Markley Fire started on August 18th, 2020, in the Stebbins-Cold Canyon area and merged with the Hennessey Fire which was later included in the overall LNU Lightning Complex.

The Markley Fireplace began on August 18th, 2020, within the Stebbins-Chilly Canyon space and merged with the Hennessey Fireplace which was later included within the total LNU Lightning Complicated.
(Solano County Sheriff’s Workplace)

Serriteno was arrested on Wednesday and charged with arson and the 2 murders of Mai and Bone.

He has remained jailed with out bail for Castro’s homicide since September 2020. He has pleaded not responsible to her killing.

The Related Press contributed to this report.



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