Police arrested an Iowa man on Wednesday afternoon in connection with a house fire in May that took the lives of two young girls and severely injured their family members.
NBC reports that the Guthrie County Sheriff’s Office arrested Patrick Ryan Thompson, 26, and charged him with one count of arson, two counts of first-degree murder, and two counts of attempted murder.
According to investigators, Thompson started a fire at a Guthrie Center home off of Main Street on May 15 that killed Shakiah Cockerham, 15, and Melanie “Paige” Exline, 12. William Long III, 54, and 74-year-old Shirley Exline were severely injured during the fire. Authorities said that Paige was likely sexually abused by two relatives, James and Noah Exline. Both men were charged with sexual abuse, but Paige died before the scheduled court date.
— The Jefferson Herald (@JeffersonHerald) June 1, 2017
Thompson is James Eline’s stepson and he may have started the fire to keep Paige from testifying. Authorities said the sexual abuse against Paige started when she was a 9-year-old. Court documents indicate that Noah Exline admitted to molesting Paige at least seven times at their family home. James Exline is currently listed on Iowa’s sex offender registry for a 2009 conviction of sex abuse and lascivious acts.
“Yeah it’s the killing that entices me sounds so good sometimes,” the suspect reportedly sent in a text message to his mother on April 16. “Kill all the b—— with their head games.”
Investigators are asking the public for “continued help” as they move on with the investigation.
Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.
[Feature Photo: Iowa Department of Public Safety]