MIDDLETOWN, OH (FOX19) - Middletown Police have withdrawn aggravated arson charges against an 18-year-old man initially accused of setting a family's home on fire.
Officers say that charges have been withdrawn against Thaddeus Shields. Police say that Shields was not present when the fire started in the 2000 block of Roosevelt Avenue on Tuesday. A 16-year-old girl claimed to have seen Shields and others start the fire, authorities say. However, upon further investigation, officers say Shields was not present when the blaze started.
Charges against a 17-year-old juvenile still stand.
Crews arriving on the scene initially believed that a mother and two children were inside. They later learned the residents had left Monday night to stay with family after someone reportedly harassed them earlier in the day.
The homeowner reportedly told authorities what she referred to as "neighborhood punks" had recently threatened to burn down the house.
It took 22 firefighters about 20 minutes to control the blaze. The home is believed to be a total loss.
Officials say that the investigation is continuing. Police say that additional charges are possible. Anyone with information on the incident is asked to contact Detective Kelly at 513-425-7736.