Crime Headline — 29 August 2014 — by Rowland A. Parks
Nephew charged for burning down aunt’s house

BELIZE CITY–A Belize City man who is accused of arson was remanded to prison after the court prosecutor, Inspector Hector Rodriguez, objected to his being granted bail on the grounds of the seriousness of the offense and the fact that the man had threatened to burn down the house, which he did.

Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith upheld Rodriguez’s objection and remanded Darrell Alvarez, 27, into custody until his next court date on October 3, 2014.

A single charge of arson was read to Alvarez, who was not required to enter a plea because the offense is indictable and will be tried in the Supreme Court after a preliminary inquiry is held in the Magistrate’s Court to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to the high court.

The aunt said she told her nephew to quit selling drugs from her residence

Alvarez was charged with arson after a fire destroyed a plycem and wood house with a zinc roof, located at 9198 Holy Emmanuel Street in an area of Lake Independence known as “Gungulung,” on Tuesday afternoon.

Police reported that their initial investigation revealed that at 12:20 p.m., Sonia Harris, 53, a Belizean residing in New York City who was on a visit back home, left her Holy Emmanuel Street house.

Harris told police that when she left the house, she left her nephew in the house and shortly after leaving, she received a call from a relative telling her that her house was on fire.

The Fire Department went to the scene and extinguished the fire, but not before the inferno destroyed the house and all of its contents. Neither the house nor its contents were insured and the value of the destruction caused by the fire has not yet been determined.

Fire Department investigators, however, have confirmed that the fire was deliberately set by someone who had set clothing on fire in one of the bedrooms.

Harris told police that Alvarez, who is her nephew, became upset and threatened to burn down the house after she told him that he could not continue to sell drugs from her property.

Police arrested Alvarez on the same day the house was set on fire.

It is not known whether Alvarez gave police a caution statement.

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