HURRICANE – The body recovered from a residential trailer fire in Hurricane Wednesday morning has been identified as 31-year-old David Wayne Vere Nielson of Hurricane. Nielson has been characterized, as recently as November 2013 in a probable cause statement, as the live-in boyfriend of Stacy Barnard, the 43-year-old woman who was arrested for setting the fire that consumed the trailer.
Nielson’s body was found in the charred remains of the trailer on Wednesday morning and positively identified by the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office on Thursday.
On Nov. 24, 2013, Nielson was arrested on charges including forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony, relating to accusations made by Barnard. He was later released in December after posting bail, and was scheduled to appear in Fifth District Court in St. George for a preliminary hearing on Jan. 6.
According to the probable cause statement in the November matter, Barnard said that Nielson was her live-in boyfriend and had been for three years.
On Wednesday, according to the probable cause statement filed with Barnard’s arrest, she told police that she and Nielson “had been drinking alcohol in the hours previous to the fire.”
When officers first arrived at the scene of the fire, Barnard said that the fire had started accidentally while she was burning candles, the probable cause statement said. A subsequent investigation by Deputy Fire Marshal Todd Hohbein indicated that the fire had been ignited using an accelerant at two separate points within the home, the statement said. And, it said, a K-9 unit also detected the scent of accelerant on Barnard’s hands.
In light of the ongoing investigation, Hurricane Police declined to comment on any motives in connection with the alleged crime.
“We are still looking into the motive of this crime,” Hurricane Police Sgt. Brandon Buell said. Additionally, medical examiners have not yet made an official ruling on the exact nature and cause of Nielson’s death, he said.
Barnard is currently being held at Washington County’s Purgatory Correctional Facility. Cash-only bail has been set at $100,000.
As this report is published, no additional charges have been brought.
Ed. notes: Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.
While St. George News as a general principal avoids naming persons who may be determined to be victims of a sexual crime, the common parties involved in the November 2013 arrest of Nielson and the New Year’s Day arrest of Barnard are essential to presenting an accurate report on this developing matter.
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