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Two teens charged with church arson
The remains of New Holy Deliverance Outreach Ministry smoldered after a fire destroyed the building May 20. (Contributed photo)
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
By BULLETIN STAFF REPORTS -
Two teenagers have been charged with arson in connection with a blaze that destroyed an Axton church earlier this month, according to the Henry County Department of Public Safety.
New Holy Deliverance Outreach Ministry was destroyed by fire May 20, said public safety Director Dale Wagoner.
The male juveniles, ages 16 and 17, are being held without bond, according to Wagoner and a news release. Their names were not released due to their ages.
The teens were charged with breaking and entering with intent to commit arson; arson of a meeting place; and grand larceny, Wagoner said. All the charges are felonies, he said.
Wagoner said burglary appears to be a motive in the case.
“We’re looking at some other possibilities, but that appears to be (a motive),” he said.
He declined to say what was taken from the church.
Wagoner said this does not appear to be a case motivated by the theft of copper material. At least one other arson charge was filed in the county in recent months in connection with a fire related to the theft of copper.
Firefighters responded to the blaze at 1:20 a.m. May 20 at 338 Hobson Road, the release said. When they arrived, they “found the church fully engulfed by fire,” it said.
The church was empty at the time, Wagoner said.
The Henry County fire marshal’s office is leading the investigation and is being assisted by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). According to Wagoner, it is routine for the ATF to become involved in investigations of church fires.
Pete Draper, deputy fire marshal for Henry County, is the lead investigator in the case, the release said. Anyone with additional information is asked to call the fire marshal at 638-8751.
Representatives of the church could not be reached Tuesday.