CALDWELL COUNTY, Mo. — Neighbors to a string of arsons in Caldwell County, Missouri, have more questions than answers following the arrest of a suspect.
New court documents released Tuesday do not give insight into why the suspect chose the area he did. But that paperwork does give insight into the police work going into the arrest.
Authorities say they proved suspect Harold Edwards Jr. was in the area during the fires using information from his cell phone usage. It started with an anonymous tip which gave police a name.
They got a warrant to look at his cell phone information – proving to authorities that his cell phone was in the area of the arsons as they were happening.
Trinkets now line the ashy brick still standing at the home of 96-year-old Loren Fickess who was killed in the arson about one month ago.
According to court documents, Edwards Jr.’s home address is listed in the Shoal Creek area of Kansas City. So here is the question on neighbors’ minds: Why would he drive from that area and head 50 minutes north to an apparently random home in Polo to start a fire?
“We don’t have enough evidence yet to comment on that because the investigation is still on-going. But yes, that is one of the questions we will answer,” Caldwell County Sheriff Mitch Allen said during a news conference on Monday.
Here’s some firm evidence – already revealed. Police say that surveillance images captured by cameras at this school show a vehicle – a black SUV – that tracks directly back to Edwards.
Neighbors say it is confusing why the suspect was so brazen.
“They think they’ve got the right guy. That puts more questions in my mind. I just don’t understand,” neighbor to Fickess – Dave Holt – said.
“If I could get into somebody’s head like that and figure ’em out, I wouldn’t be out here farming,” Holt said.
Edwards was arrested last Thursday. He has not yet been charged with any crimes related specifically to the death of the 96-year-old, but does face 9 counts related to arson and burglary.
At this point – he has requested to be represented by a public defender, according to court documents.