Police on Sunday announced that they have charged a 33-year-old man with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson following the arson of a home that killed two people.
Edward Dale Ager III, 33 of Vass, was being held in custody at the Lee County jail without benefit of bail, according to a police department press statement.
Police took Ager into custody following the investigation of a house fire Wednesday at 890 W. Lowe Avenue, authorities reported.
The house is split into three apartments. Neighbors reported that the fire started in the back of the house and that a fight broke out at the house before the fire started. A man showed up beaten and bloodied at one neighbor’s home asked them to call 911, according to WNCN.
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Ager’s arrest marked the second time this month that people have died as a consequence of deliberately set fires in the Sandhills region, some 50 miles south of Raleigh.
Earlier this month, federal, state and local authorities were searching for 54-year-old Billy Jo McLean of Lee County for the murder of his wife and 13-year-old stepdaughter. Firefighters discovered the bodies of McLean’s wife and 13-year-old stepdaughter inside a burning apartment in Sanford a week ago, on July 13.
Mclean fled the area with his 17-year-old son and was captured in Oldham County, Tex., on July 16. His son was unharmed, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reported.
Southern Pines police say their investigation of the crimes that led to Ager’s arrest is active and ongoing, according to the Sunday press statement.
Investigators are asking anyone with information about the crime to please contact the Southern Pines Police Department at (910) 693-1481 or the department’s Crime Tip Line at (910) 693-4110.