Missouri man accused of trying to burn house down with wife, elderly aunt inside

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LIBERTY, Mo. — A 48-year-old Clay County man is facing multiple charges for allegedly trying to burn down a house with his wife and her elderly aunt trapped inside.

Clay County prosecutors charged Darin Thomsen with first-degree assault on a special victim, arson, attempted assault and domestic assault.

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According to court documents, Clay County deputies responded to a house just after 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in the area of Arnote Road and N. Brookside Road in Pleasant Valley.

Thomsen’s wife called 911 from the home saying her estranged husband was in the house when he was not supposed to be and was threatening her with violence. She barricaded herself, and her 78-year-old aunt with dementia, in a bathroom out of fear for their safety and began to smell smoke, court documents say.

The victim said Thomsen was not supposed to be at the house due to him being an alcoholic and aggressive, court documents say. Thomsen told the victim “I’m gonna fry you like a steak.”

When deputies arrived on scene they could smell something burning and the victim yelling for help from the bedroom window.

Court documents say Thomsen refused to follow commands from deputies and kicked one when they tried to detain him.

The Clay County Sheriff’s Office said a large dog was also in the home and had become aggressive, attempting to bite deputies during the arrest. They were able to get it safely shut away in another room.

Pleasant Valley firefighters were able to evacuate the two victims and put the fire out that had been started in the living room. The fire had burned a cabinet and painting and was making its way up the wall toward the ceiling before firefighters put it out.

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Throughout the home, deputies located multiple accelerants and lighters including a torch lighter in the living room, a zippo lighter in the hallway, flammable cleaner in the living room, lighter fluid on the back porch and a red plastic gas can on the back porch with the cap off.

An investigator from the Missouri Department of Public Safety’s Division of Fire Safety determined the fire was started with an accelerant and was intentional.

Thomsen is being held on a $100,000 bond in the Clay County jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. for a bond reduction hearing.

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