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      Three arrested for suspicious blazes

      Athena Wolter

      UPDATED: June 11 at 4:50 p.m.

      Three Knox County residents are facing felony charges for five arson fires last week near Kirksville.Jaston Boone, Shelby Snelling and Athena Wolter each face three counts of knowingly burning and exploding.They are accused of five fires in the Brashear area near Kirksville including one that destroyed a large piece of playground equipment at the Brashear Park playground.All three are in custody in the Adair County jail on a $10,000 bond.


      Three Knox County residents face charges after several suspicious fires took place in Kirksville overnight.

      According to our sister station KTVO in Kirksville, the three suspects charged in connection with the five fires are 20-year-old Shelby Snelling of Baring, Missouri, 19-year-old Athena Wolter of Knox City, Missouri and 17-year-old Jaston Boone of Edina, Missouri.

      The suspicious fires included a trash fire, burnt limbs, a small bridge and the playground equipment at Brashear Park ... all in Kirksville.

      Fire Chief Randy Behrens says the first call came in at 10:35 Thursday night and following a second call, they suspected someone was setting fires around the city.

      "I think after the second one came in 20 minutes later after the first one, I mean just have a fire out in the cemetery is not normal. And then have a brush fire, trash fire set at same time in a trash can. We were already thinking we had somebody doing something."

      Kirksville Police Chief Jim Hughes said authorities had a partial description of a vehicle that may have been involved in suspicious activity happening earlier Thursday evening. While investigating the fires, a deputy was able to locate that vehicle in Kirksville on the 900 block of N. Franklin street around 12:44 a.m. Hughes said the deputy then developed probable cause to arrest all three individuals in the vehicle and link them to the arsons.

      After the investigation by the Kirksville Police Department and the Adair County Sheriff's Office, Snelling, Wolter and Boone were arrested and each was charged with three felony counts of knowingly burning or exploding and a misdemeanor count of possession of an intoxicating liquor by a minor. They are currently under a 24-hour hold at the Adair County Jail.

      Behrens estimates the damage to the playground equipment to be the greatest loss ... that of around $30,000.

      The Kirksville Police Department, the Kirksville Fire Department, and the Adair County Sheriff's Office were all part of the investigation.

      (KHQA contributed to this report by KTVO reporter Stephanie Claytor.)