California Wildfire That Killed Two Was Started to Cover Up Murder, Officials Say

California Wildfire That Killed Two Was Started to Cover Up Murder, Officials Say

Written on 04/30/2021
Donovan Bell-Farmer

A wildfire that took place in 2020 was intentionally set to cover up a murder.

What We Know:

  • The Markley Fire was set near a dam in Solano County. Solano County sheriff’s office and Vacaville police reported that the burned body of a Priscilla Castro was later found in that area. Two other individuals were also found dead in their homes from the fire. Sheriff Tom Ferrara said that Douglas Mai and Leon Bone were also victims in the fire at a news conference.
  • A Victor Serriteno was arrested by Vacaville police back in September and charged with murder in Castro’s death. According to the city’s District Attorney, prosecutors will file to add two more murder and arson charges. The Markley Fire started on August 18th, and Castro’s body was found one month later in a rural area. Investigators believe Castro went to meet Serentino in Vacaville on August 16th and was never heard from again afterward.
  • Authorities believe Serriteno deliberately started the Markley Fire in an attempt to conceal his crime. The investigation lasted about eight months before a conclusion had been reached. Online court records show a public defender is representing Serriteno. The Markley Fire combined with a larger fire called the Hennessy Fire.
  • The larger fire was known as part of the “LNU Lightning Complex” fires. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has considered this one of the largest wildfires in California history. The fires were a result of two days of lightning strikes. The LNU Complex destroyed almost 1,500 structures and has claimed six lives.

The LNU complex was fully contained by early October, and Cal Fire said the 2020 fire season would be counted as one of the most severe in the history of the United States.