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Four more charged in connection with Washington County fires

Jacob and Joshua Hess, both of Clear Spring, and Sarah Couch and Brandy Sneider-Koontz, both of Mercersburg, Pa., were being held at Washington County Detention Center

April 17, 2013
  • Jacob Hess
Jacob Hess

Four more people have been arrested and charged in connection with a recent string of intentionally set fires in Washington and Frederick counties, the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office announced Wednesday.

Jacob Hess, 18, and Joshua Hess, 19, both of Clear Spring, as well as Sarah Couch, 18, and Brandy Sneider-Koontz, 19, both of Mercersburg, Pa., were being held at Washington County Detention Center on numerous arson-related charges, the fire marshal’s office said in a news release.

Bonds set for each include: Sneider-Koontz, $120,000; Couch, $80,000; Jacob Hess, $25,000; and Joshua Hess, $10,000.

A Washington County Grand Jury hearing has been scheduled on April 30 for the first four suspects in the serial arson case — Tyler Murray, 20, Sarah Mathews, 19, Morgan Neild, 20, and Olivia Hannah, 20.

Maryland State Fire Marshal William E. Barnard commended the efforts of all agency members involved with finding the suspects.

“The closure of this investigation by the law enforcement agencies involved reveals their overall outstanding commitment to the citizens of Maryland when unlawful acts occur in this state,” Barnard said in the news release.

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Barnard said during an April 9 news conference that 60 investigators have worked around the clock since the first fire was set on the night of March 17. Investigators estimated that 40 fires were set over a three-week period.

Investigators have said no one was injured as a result of the fires. The damages were estimated at $200,000.

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