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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

2005 College Park Arson/Homicide Documented in Upcoming Cable Program

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
mebrady@co.pg.md.us     @PGFDPIO

An early morning off-campus house fire on Saturday, April 30, 2005 claimed the life of one of the occupants.  Just steps away from the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park a well-advanced fire consumed the 2-story rental house. 

A party the night before left many possible causes of the fire for the talented and experienced Prince George’s County Fire Investigators that conducted a very through investigation ruling out one possible cause after another.  However, one key piece of evidence could not be explained, the presence of gasoline in the area of origin; the front porch.  This incident would prove to be one of the most challenging and perplexing Arson/Homicide investigations in the history of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in identifying a suspect.

After hours of interviews of witnesses and review of forensics the cause of the fire was determined to be Arson.  Fire Investigators and County Police Homicide worked jointly to find out who was responsible.

For more details about the promising college senior that perished in the fire and how a suspect was identified read the Cindy Rich story in a 2008 WashingtonianMagazine story. 

Now, a cable TV show documents the case 11 years after its occurrence.  The show titled “Burning Down the House” will premiere on Investigation Discovery channel on Wednesday, May 11 at 9:00 pm.  The scheduled date and time are subject to change.

Investigation Discovery describes the show as; “With college graduation on the horizon, an exceptional group of students face a terrifying turn of events. Graduation and celebration is replaced with death as these college friends try to make sense of an unexpected and brutal murder.

Investigation Discovery can be found in Prince George’s County on Comcast/Xfinity Channel 111 and Verizon FIOS on 623.  This show is slated for 60 minutes and has a rating of 14 (LV).

Additional background on this incident can be found in this 2007 Washington Post article.