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Church fires map

Locations of the church fires

Real Name: Unrevealed
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Arson
Missing Since: November 1991

CaseEdit

Details: Police are searching for the person responsible for more than twenty-six church arson fires throughout Florida; they started in July 1990 in Jackson County. By February 1991, eleven were hit. By June, the total was fifteen. They stopped until October 24, 1991, when the arsonist attacked the First Baptist Church in Ocala. Several others occurred around this time. Damage estimates were around $8 million.
After the fires in October 1991, a police task force was set up, comprised of federal, state, and local investigators. In November 1991, the Westwood Hills Church of God in Gainesville was set on fire. Fortunately, no one has been killed or seriously injured during the fires. The arsonist remains at large.
Extra Notes: This case first aired as a special alert on the November 27, 1991 episode.

PatrickLeeFrank

Patrick Lee Frank

Results: Captured. On November 13, 1991, a Tennessee drifter named Patrick Lee Frank was arrested for loitering. After his arrest, no more church fires occurred. Under questioning, he confessed to setting several in Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado. He claimed that churches caused him to steal and commit crimes. Investigators also learned that he had been sexually abused by a church member as a child. He was charged with fifteen of the fires. However, in January 1993, he was found not guilty for reason of insanity. He was institutionalized for fifteen years before being released in 2008.
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