30-year-old arrested for 2018 San Marcos apartment fire that killed 5

Friday, July 7, 2023
Suspect arrested in fatal San Mar cos fire that killed Pasadena man
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A former Texas State student was arrested for allegedly starting the fire in San Marcus that killed 5 people, including a man from Pasadena.

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KTRK) -- Officials in San Marcos, Texas, have named the man charged with intentionally starting a fire five years ago which killed five people and displaced 200 others.

Jacobe De Leon O Shea Ferguson, of Austin, was arrested early Wednesday, Jonathan Henderson, Fire Marshal for the San Marcos Fire Department, announced in a news conference Thursday.

Ferguson, 30, has been arrested and charged with arson causing bodily injury, officials announced during a Thursday morning press conference. Authorities say he was a Texas State University student who had been living at the apartments he's now accused of setting on fire. Officials declined to explain what a possible motive was.

The fire broke out on July 20, 2018, at the Iconic Village Apartments, which mostly housed Texas State University students. By the time it was out, seven were injured, and five were dead.

RELATED: 'A mother's worst nightmare': Pasadena native amongst 5 unaccounted for in San Marcos fire

On Nov. 30, 2018, months after the fire, the San Marcos Fire Department and the Houston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) ruled that the fire was intentionally set.

Pasadena native David Ortiz was 21 years old when he was killed in a fire off-campus from Texas State University.

In addition to Ortiz, the following victims' lives were claimed that day:

  • Dru Estes, 20, of San Antonio
  • Belinda Moats, 21, of Big Wells
  • Haley Michele Frizzell, 19, of San Angelo
  • James Phillip Miranda, 23,of Mount Pleasant

Multiple other people were injured in the fire, including Zachary Sutterfield, who sustained third-degree burns to nearly 70 percent of his body and a brain injury.

An investigative team was formed in October 2022, dedicated to solving the investigation. Officials with the Texas Rangers, San Marcos Police and Fire, and the ATF were able to put some fresh eyes on the case, ask more questions and re-interview witnesses and that's how they were able to get to this arrest.

Brian Frizzell, father of victim Haley Frizzell, spoke at the news conference, saying he was so grateful for the work of the investigators. He added that just six or seven months ago, he feared this was going to remain a cold case.

"We were hopeful, but not really expecting great results and so to get the phone call the other day and to know that we'd gotten to a point where we had an arrest warrant issued and an arrest made on Dru's birthday, what a blessing," Frizzell said.

Gina Ortiz, the mother of David -- the fire victim from Pasadena -- was also at the news conference Thursday. She says she is thankful for the tireless work of the investigators. She says she was looking forward to hearing the truth and seeing justice be served.

Officials said they are not expecting to make any more arrests connected to this case.