DOUGLAS COUNTY, NV - The two teens suspected of causing the Ray May fire when they neglected to fully extinguish a camp-fire have been held over until a hearing to decide formal charges August 30.
According to the District Attorney's office the two 15-year-olds, identity withheld, will remain in custody until a scheduled petition hearing to determine possible charges for the fire that has burned two structures and up to 3,600 acres near Gardnerville.
“Was there intent or maliciousness? That is an important element,” said Tom Gregory, Chief Criminal Deputy for Douglas County said adding that there are no formal charges yet. “We will be weighing all the information.”
Right now, the Douglas County Sheriff has recommended 3rd degree arson charges, but Gregory says that law enforcement and fire investigators are still putting together reports making it too early to file formal charges.
The chief concern is, “what is in the best interest of the juvenile,” said Karen Dustman, assistant to Gregory in the Douglas County DA’s Office. Those factors, she said, include type and level of supervision. Dustman and Gregory declined to say if they will recommend continued detention or release because it depends on factors like supervision which will be discussed during the hearing.
It is unknown whether the teens were allowed to speak, but they do already have attorneys according to Dustman.
Gregory said this is not the first time Douglas County has had a juvenile-potential-arson case: “There was a fire here many years ago, ‘the Autumn Hills fire’ where there were juveniles responsible. It did go through the court system.” When asked if it sets a precedent, he said: “We look at every case individually.”