Deadly 2020 California Wildfire Was Started by Bay Area Man to Cover Up Woman’s Murder

Victor Serriteno, right, was arrested in September on murder charges.

A 2020 wildfire that killed two people in Northern California and eventually became part of one of the largest fires in the state’s history was set intentionally in an attempt to cover up a woman’s murder, authorities announced Wednesday.

Douglas Mai, 82 and Leon “James” Bone, 64, died in the Markley Fire, which started on August 18 in the Stebbins-Cold Canyon area, near Lake Berryessa, according to the Solano County Sheriff’s Office.

The two men died in their homes, which were several miles away from the lake.

A month later, Vacaville, California, police arrested Victor Serriteno in the murder of 32-year-old Priscilla Castro, whose burned body was found in the same area where the fire started.

“Based on an extensive 8-month long investigation, we believe Serriteno deliberately set the Markley Fire in an attempt to conceal this crime. Earlier this morning, Sheriff’s detectives arrested Serriteno for additional charges including murder and arson,” said Solano County Sheriff Tom Ferrara at a news conference Wednesday.

Serriteno has been in custody since his initial arrest and online records show he was arrested on the new charges at the Solano County Jail.

Police said that Castro met Serriteno, 29, for a date on August 16 and she was never seen or heard from again. Castro’s car was found abandoned two days after her date with Serriteno.

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SOURCE: CNN, Stella Chan and David Williams