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No Charges For 19-Year-Old Arrested For Alleged Arson In Escondido Fire

A 19-year-old man arrested for allegedly setting patches of vegetation ablaze in Escondido last week will not face charges.

At a hearing Tuesday morning for Isaiah David Silva at San Diego Superior Court in Vista, prosecutors said they do not have enough evidence to bring charges.

Silva and a 17-year-old boy were arrested Thursday evening. A detention hearing was scheduled today for the 17-year-old in Juvenile Court.

A witness who allegedly spotted a pair setting a fire near South Escondido Boulevard called police about 6:30 p.m. Thursday and then extinguished the flames, police Lt. Neal Griffin said.

About an hour later, another person made an emergency call from an area near Westfield North County mall and said he was chasing two youths he saw trying to start a fire in Kit Carson Park near Interstate 15 and Bear Valley Parkway, according to Griffin.

The two suspects had similar descriptions to those from the first fire.

Officers went to that area and arrested Silva and the teenager from Escondido whose name was withheld because he is a minor.

Griffin said there was no immediate evidence linking the suspects to any of the large wildfires that have blackened about 20,000 acres and destroyed or damaged dozens of residences and businesses across the county. It was also not confirmed if they were suspected in a third fire that night that destroyed an Escondido church.

Prior to the hearing, Silva was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending arraignment.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 20, 2014 at 3:53 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

I'm glad to hear reason has trumped hysteria.

I remember when this story was first reported on, the pitchfork and torches crowd was out in full force demanding them to be charged with murder and demanding them be locked-up for life.

Sounds like it may have actually been a case of mistaken identitiy.

This is why we have a little thing called 'evidence' in our justice system.

I don't want to be in an environment where, when another round of tragic fires occur, we have cases where people can simply name a person they don't like, say they "saw" the person trying to start a fire, and bam that person's life and reputation are ruined without tangible evidence.

I know people's gut instinct when tragedy strikes is to have a scapegoat to blame and focus anger on, but let's face it - we are all ultimately responsible for the climatic conditions that have likely been the real cause of these fires.

If someone is caught intentionally exploiting these sensitive climate conditions by deilberately starting a fire, then of course they should be prosecuted.

But let's try and hold ourselves to a standard of evidence before publicly humiliating someone.

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