SAN DIEGO — No charges will be filed against a 19-year-old man who was arrested Thursday night on suspicion of starting small fires in Escondido, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Isaiah Silva of Escondido was arrested at about 7:30 p.m. on May 15 near the Westfield North County Mall after a witness reported spotting him set a fire, according to Escondido police.
But late Tuesday night, Silva was released from the Vista Jail.
The Escondido Police Department had taken the unusual step of sending media Silva’s mug shot. They also arrested his 17-year-old companion, whose identity was not released because of his age.
“After a thorough review of this case, the District Attorney’s Office is declining to file criminal charges against Silva because there is not sufficient evidence to suggest he started a fire,” District Attorney spokesman Steve Walker wrote in news release.
Walker said state law prevented the office from releasing any information on the juvenile suspect.
Meantime, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials announced the new Joint Arson Task Force Information Exchange.
“The joint task force then collates the information into one data base that we can see if there’s a common thread between any of them,” said Chet Burtell, task force leader.
Burtell said at least 15 agencies from federal, state and local agencies were part of the task force. He said so far, 30 to 40 tips have come into Crimestoppers regarding the wildfires.
“We’ve also had some other tips come in through each agency as well,” said Burtell.
The team will now filter through those tips and any other evidence found in the field. The fires charred more than 22,000 acres and destroyed or damaged dozens of homes, but Burtell said even with the best intelligence, a cause may not be found.
“That’s just because we can rule out certain things, but we can’t positively identify what started the fire. Unfortunately, sometimes it does go undetermined,” said Burtell.
Anyone with information about crimes around San Diego County should contact CrimeStoppers at 888-850-8477. Callers can remain anonymous.