A Hurricane woman was charged Thursday with arson stemming from a New Year’s Day fire that police say killed her boyfriend.
Stacy Barnard, 43, was charged in 5th District Court with first-degree felony aggravated arson. She is expected to make her initial appearance in court Thursday afternoon.
Preliminary investigation indicates accelerant materials were used to set the blaze inside a travel trailer about 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, said Hurricane police Sgt. Brandon Buell.
According to a probable cause statement filed in court, firefighters could not enter the trailer at 237 W. State St. because it was fully engulfed in flames when they arrived. Barnard was outside the trailer, and told firefighters that David Wayne Vere Neilson was still inside.
Investigators Thursday positively identified Neilson as the man killed in the blaze.
Barnard was reportedly seen by other trailer park residents shouting and pounding on the side of the trailer after it burst into flames. Residents initially tried to pry open the trailer’s door to get to the man inside, but the flames were too intense.
After extinguishing the fire, crews went into the trailer and found Neilson, deceased and severely burned.
Both Barnard and Neilson — who is a periodic boyfriend of Barnard’s, according to police — were believed to be at the home when the fire broke out.
Barnard told police that she had been burning candles and the fire started there, according to the probable cause statement. However, a police dog later indicated that Barnard’s hands had an accelerant on them, and two different areas of the trailer — in the front and rear of the home — appeared to have been set on fire.
Further charges are expected, but specifics await the autopsy’s findings.
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