Reward increased for information in Duplin County arson case
DUPLIN COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Duplin County deputies have increased the reward in a fire investigation after a second home owned by the same family was also set on fire by an arsonist.
The first fire happened back on January 26th on Highway 41/111 outside of Beulaville. Beverly Judge was inside the home at the time.
Deputies said conflicting descriptions were given about the arsonist, and they are not certain they were in a dark car that left heading towards Beulaville.
In February, the Duplin County Sheriff’s Office offered a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest in the case.
Then on May 4th, a home in Jacksonville owned by another family member was also set on fire. The Judge family says Beverly Judge’s daughter Ayisha Bullock and her two children (both under the age of 10) were asleep at home when they heard a loud explosion and glass breaking, and had to run through flames to escape the home.
According to the family, first responders were shocked to find them alive.
Authorities from Duplin County and Jacksonville met shortly after the second fire, but their investigation didn’t lead to any suspects.
The sheriff’s office has increased the reward for information in the case to $5,500.
Rebecca Judge, a Beulaville resident since 1957 and matriarch of the Judge family, says they lost almost everything in the fire, including four vehicles. The family believes they were victims of a racially-motivated hate crime.
“It is unbelievable that a person can carry such hate in their heart that they are willing to commit such horrendous acts; destroying not only possessions but threatening lives as well,” Rebecca Judge said. “It is the right and expectation of law-abiding citizens to have such persons tracked down and punished.”
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