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Court documents reveal clues that led to arson suspect's arrest

The court documents have been released in the case of the suspected Cottonwood arsonist, who went before a judge on Wednesday, October 30. in Shasta County courthouse.Still1031_00001.jpg

Court documents filed in the Cottonwood arson case reveal DNA and digital evidence investigators say confirmed their suspect was involved in setting multiple suspicious fires in Anderson and Cottonwood.

The Shasta County District Attorney said 18-year-old Samuel Scholfield, of Cottonwood, had set multiple fires throughout Cottonwood and Anderson between July 27 and October 26.

Detectives with the Shasta County Sheriff's Office launched their investigation into the fires on August 31. when they learned of a series of suspicious fires in the Cottonwood area in late July.

In the report investigators detail how they determined all of the structure fires seemed to have started in the same way, at the back of the structure with something used to ignite a fire like a lighter, torch or lighting instrument.

The Anderson Police Department arrested Scholfield after officers stopped a red Nissan Sentra and conducted at a traffic stop just after fires reportedly burned in Anderson on October 26.

The detectives questioned him and took his clothes and shoes as evidence.

During the examination of Scholfield's shoes, investigators learned they were "extremely similar" to the shoe prints detectives were able to track down from a fire observed on September 5.

The Department of Justice reported Scholfield's DNA also matched a sample taken from an oil can they believe was used to start the September 5 fire.

Investigators obtained a search warrant and found a video of the fire at Willow Street in Cottonwood on July 27 on his cell phone that was taken at 2:51 a.m., that fire was reported at 2:40 a.m.

The detectives found on October 8, searches like "deaths" from Cottonwood fires, along with "FBI" and "ATF" Cottonwood fires in his browsing history. Along with viewing Scholfield's license photo that quote "matches that of the suspect depicted in the surveillance" video from a resident's home on October 7.

Schofield is currently booked in the Shasta County Jail with 54 counts against him, including murder and attempted murder.

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