Benton City Arson Suspect Subject of Nationwide Warrant
You may recall the suspicious fire on May 26th that gutted a home near Benton City, reportedly leaving a woman and child without a home. While those reports have not been confirmed, Benton County Sheriff's Fire Investigators had said it was suspicious.
Officials had initially said the home was "unoccupied."
No one was home when the fire was reported on North Schumacher Private Road near town, the call came in around 9PM.
According to reports, a person of interest was seen in the area shortly before the fire began.
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Now, a nationwide arrest warrant has been issued for 37-year-old Todd James Gaines, hometown listed as Burbank, and he is wanted for 1st Degree Arson.
According to the Benton County Sheriff's Office:
"Gaines is 5’11’’ in height, 175 pounds, brown hair, and blue eyes. He wears a full beard but might have shaved.
Gaines is aware the Sheriff’s Office is looking for him and is avoiding arrest. The Sheriff’s Office is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to his arrest."
Investigators have not released any information about where or how the fire started, or if any accelerants were used, but the circumstances of this case appear the matter is considered extremely serious--as in perhaps more involved.
Anyone with any information as to his whereabouts is urged to call (509)-628-0333. All leads can be confidential.
Authorities caution if you do see him, DO NOT approach but call law enforcement.