Investigator: 'Not Confident' Teller Co. Arson Suspect Is Linked To Waldo Canyon Fire

By: KKTV
By: KKTV
An investigator says that while they have not ruled the Teller County arson suspect out, investigators are not confident that he is linked to the Waldo Canyon Fire.

Credit: Debra Bowie. Bowie says this was taken as her family evacuated on June 26, 2012. She says the community really pulled together that day and in the aftermath of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

The Teller County sheriff tells 11 News they have identified a suspect in more than two dozen intentionally-set fires in the county last year.

But a Waldo Canyon Fire investigator says that while they have not ruled the suspect out, investigators are not confident that he is linked to the second most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.

The fires in Teller County happened around the same time that Waldo ignited, proceeding the Waldo Canyon Fire by just a few days.

"We've actually worked with that task force [Teller County] almost since its inception, sharing information from our investigation and receiving information from their investigation, Lt. Adrian Vasquez with the Colorado Springs Police Department said. "I think we have all the facts of their investigation. We've compared them to what we're looking at and we're continuing to share information."

Vasquez said he hoped that the identification of a suspect in last summer's arsons will help with the Waldo Canyon investigation.

"We're still looking for information, so I'm hoping this will help out with that...right now, we don't have a lot to go on.

"We haven't ruled anybody out at this point. Certainly one of our jobs is to keep an open mind until we definitively pinpoint who we think did it."

But Vasquez said investigators are "not confident" that the Teller County suspect is linked to the Waldo Canyon Fire. He also told 11 News it's frustrating not to have more definitive answers.

"Waldo was certainly one of the most devastating that we've had recently so it is frustrating. We want answers. We would love to be able to give everybody the answers, but unfortunately right now, we just don't have them.

"Somebody knows. At least one person knows who started this fire and that's the person who did it. Most likely they've told somebody. And the hope is that that person or the person who did it will feel that they need to come forward. We need to have those answers. Everybody should have those answers."

Teller County Sheriff Mike Ensminger told 11 News Monday that they aren't releasing the man's name at this time, but they have a strong circumstantial case against him. He has not been arrested; the sheriff says the district attorney told him he would like more concrete evidence before any arrest is made.

Teller County is holding a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. 11 News will be there, and will let you know what information comes out of it.


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