May 5, 2006
Charlottesville Police arrested 24-year-old Jason Scott Santos Monday morning at UVa Medical Center in connection with the overnight fire at the Charlottesville Church of Christ on Fifth Street. Santos admitted himself to the hospital for a cut to his hand. Blood found near a broken church window led police to believe someone was involved.
"At that time we notifed local hospitals [so that] if in fact someone came in seeking treatment for wounds that would be consistent with that, to notify us, said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.
Through their interrogation, officials learned the homeless man is from Roanoke. He's been living in the woods behind the church for the past week. Their still investigating, but they think he broke in and tried to cook a hamburger. A plastic bag that was left on the stove may have started the fire.
"We want to be cautious until we've completed the fire investigation to make sure that the forensic evidence that's left here on the scene is consistent with that account," said Longo.
Charlottesville Police, Fire and ATF officials combed the scene hoping to find more clues. As an extra precaution, a cadaver dog sniffed the scene for bodies, but found none. An accelerant dog searched for flammables; anything to reveal what exactly caused the fire.
Santos has been charged with breaking and entering and petty larceny. He could still face arson charges if there is enough evidence to prove he intentionally set the fire. He is being held without bond at the Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Jail.