Accused arsonist arrested in Baldwin

BALDWIN, Fla. -- A family in Baldwin is renting a home close enough to the house they lost in March fire so their children can still use their swing set; the only thing they didn't lose in the blaze.

The Demsey family, Jason, Amanda and their four young children, were on vacation March 23 when someone broke into their house, smashed their children's piggy-banks and set their house on fire.

Forty-seven days later a suspect was arrested and charged. The suspect happened to be their next-door neighbor.

Everette Ellis Hicks, 28, was taken into custody Friday and charged with grand theft, arson, two counts of burglary, attempted second degree arson and motor vehicle theft.

Not only did Hicks allegedly burn down the family's home, but he is also accused of stealing Jason's pick-up truck, using keys that were hanging inside the Dempsey's home. Hicks was later caught on surveillance video at a McDonald's on U.S. 301 in Baldwin, according to Amanda.

First Coast News' Keitha Nelson sits down with the Dempsey family Friday night to learn more about their story.

A campaign has been set-up to help the family raise money for repairs.


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