Suspected arsonist held in three Caldwell County fires, one that killed a 96-year-old woman.

CALDWELL COUNTY, Mo — A man from Kansas City has been arrested in connection with a series of arsons last month in Caldwell County, one of which killed a 96-year-old woman. 

The suspect, 27-year-old Harold Edwards Jr., has been charged with three counts each of second-degree arson, second-degree burglary and first-degree property damage.

All three fires occurred the morning of May 10 between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m, and all were along Southwest State Route D.

In the days following the fires, the Caldwell County Sheriff’s office released pictures of a black 2019 Ford Escape said to have been parked outside each of the homes at the time of the fires. 

One of the homes was that of 96-year-old Lorrene Fickess, who had celebrated Mother’s Day with her children and grandchildren just days before. A neighbor tried to help Fickess but couldn’t get into the house. Firefighters found her dead at the scene. 

Caldwell County Sheriff Mitchell Allen said Edwards didn’t know the first fire had resulted in Fickess’ death. The sheriff said he believes the second and third fires were started to cover up the first. 

Allen also commented on the strange nature of the tragic incident, saying, “Who knows what goes through an arsonist’s mind?”

Court documents show the sheriff’s office used cell phone location data to track down Edwards. After a warrant was served, AT&T gave the sheriff’s office Edwards’ location data for the days of the fires and used that, along with the surveillance footage, to identify him. 

Edwards was being held this week in the Caldwell County jail. In addition to the initial nine charges, the sheriff’s office says Edwards could face additional charges including for murder or manslaughter in the death of Fickess.


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