Last year, images of blazing infernos in California had ruled the internet. Several woodlands were reported burning after a massive heatwave in the coastal US state. As per reports, investigating authorities in the western US state have stated that the Markley fire, reportedly one of the largest and most destructive ones, was an act of arson to cover up a murder.
The Markley Fire was started on August 18, 2020, near Northern California’s Solano County. Two men, namely 82-year-old Douglas Mai and 64-year-old Leon Bone were killed in the fire.
The Markley Fire had soon spread in a large area, joining with other fires in the forest and eventually becoming the LNU Lightning Complex, one of the biggest and worst incidents of wildfire reported in California’s history.
To cover up a murder
on August 16, 2020, a 32-year-old woman named Priscilla Castro had went out from her home in Vallejo, California to meet a man named Victor Serriteno, who had reached out to her online. She had disappeared later. Her burnt body was found two weeks later in the forest in Solano County, near Lake Berryessa. At that time, the police could not confirm whether she was killed in the fire or her body was dumped at the location.
The police had taken another 8 days to identify the woman’s body as that of Priscilla Castro.
Solano County police have now confirmed after an extensive eight-month-long investigation was Serriteno had killed Priscilla and had started the fire to conceal his crime. Serriteno was arrested back in August after the police tracked Priscilla’s last movements and his online interaction, and confirmed via security camera footages that he was the last person to see Priscilla alive.
Serriteno has been in jail since August. He is now facing additional charges of murder for the deaths of Mai and Bone who had perished in the fire.
In August 2020, several forest fires had ravaged California, collectively scorching over 360,000 acres. The fires had burned down over 1500 structures and had forced the evacuation of several thousand people.