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Boy, 7, Charged With Arson

Cops say boy was physically abused before setting fire to his home with family members inside
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2023 1:50 PM CDT
Boy, 7, Charged With Arson; Stepdad Charged With Abuse
A photo of the family's home in flames.   (Jackson County WV Sheriff's Department)

A 7-year-old boy set fire to his family's home as his parents slept inside, according to West Virginia police, who've laid arson charges against the boy and child abuse charges against his stepfather. The fire erupted around noon Wednesday near Elizabeth, per the AP. The Jackson County Sheriff's Department said later Wednesday that a 7-year-old boy had been charged with first-degree arson "after the family home was intentionally set ablaze with the parents asleep inside." Everyone inside escaped, though two children were treated for injuries, said Robert Bailey, chief deputy for the state fire marshal's office.

A day after the blaze, the sheriff's department announced the boy's stepfather, 38-year-old Aaron Hufford of Sandyville, was arrested "for child abuse of the same 7-year-old," per the New York Daily News. Investigators said they received video showing Hufford repeatedly striking the boy's buttocks with enough force to potentially cause bodily harm, per WCHS. Hufford was shown the video, identified himself, and admitted his use of force was "excessive," according to court documents. Police said they would release "no further information" in regard to the arson case "because of the sensitive nature." (More arson stories.)

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