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Deadly California wildfire started to cover up murder, sheriff says

A 2020 northern California blaze, which became one of the largest and deadliest wildfires in state history, was deliberately set up to cover up the murder of a woman, officials said. Now, the suspect of this murder is also accused of the death of two victims of fire.

Victor Serriteno, 29, from Vacaville, is in prison awaiting trial for the death of Priscilla Castro, 32, who disappeared during a meeting with him in August 2020. Her burnt body was found the following month near Lake Berryessa in Solano County, about 60 miles west of Sacramento.

“Based on a comprehensive eight-month investigation, we believe Serriteno deliberately set Markley on fire in an attempt to cover up his crime,” Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara said at a conference press release Wednesday.

The deaths of Douglas Mai, 82, and Leon “James” Bone, 64, whose bodies were found near where Castro’s body was found, has been blamed on the Markley fire. Both of these deaths have now been classified as homicides.

The 30,000-acre Markley Fire merged with other wildfires to form part of the massive LNU Lightning Complex fire, one of the largest on record in California. It burned 363,000 acres, killing six people and destroying 1,500 homes and other buildings.

“As a fire starts to burn, there is an element within Cal Fire that begins to investigate how they started,” Solano County Sheriff’s Lt. Jackson Harris explained at the conference. hurry. “And with the scope and size of this fire… unfortunately, it just took a little while.”

Locals were dismayed to hear the news. Many had thought that the Markley fire had been caused by lightning.

Serriteno has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Castro. He will be brought to justice on Friday for homicide and arson in the deaths of two men in Solano County, officials said.

Castro’s family was once again devastated.

“I knew there were ugly people in the world, but I didn’t know they would do something to someone so close to us,” Castro’s sister Jasmine Castro told CBS. Channel 13 Sacramento.

Her mother, Lisa Phelps Nunez, said: “You take something out of your mind to see her again or it hasn’t really happened.”

Castro’s family understand what the families of the victims of the Markley fire are going through.

“We know the pain,” said Jasmine Castro. Serriteno “doesn’t deserve to get away with any of this,” she added.

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