Victim in Hurricane fire identified as former boyfriend of alleged arsonist; STGnews Photo Gallery

Crews work to remove the charred remains of the trailer that caught fire in the early morning hours on New Years Day, in which a body was found. Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 3, 2014 | Photo by Michael Flynn, St. George News

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.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

Crews work to remove the charred remains of the trailer that caught fire in the early morning hours on New Years Day, in which a body was found. Hurricane, Utah, Jan. 3, 2014 | Photo by Michael Flynn, St. George News

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  • Christine Shumate January 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm

    Does no additional charges mean that she is not being charged with anything? Cause I can’t see anywhere in the article that says what she has been charged with.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic January 3, 2014 at 9:08 pm

      No additional charges have been made at this time. Here is the earlier story on the arrest of Barnard as currently charged, Christine. Thank you for your question, we do add related stories by hyperlinks and as related posts at the conclusion of our reports; good resources when you want to pursue more on a story. 🙂
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

      • Christine Shumate January 4, 2014 at 12:27 pm

        Thanks! I thought I was missing something in the article :/

  • ladybugavenger January 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Thank you for the update.

  • Sagemoon January 4, 2014 at 8:23 am

    Do you know if the victim of the alleged sex abuse was Barnard herself or a minor?

    • Joyce Kuzmanic January 4, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Sagemoon, we can’t conclude anyone is a victim without a finding of guilt on the charges; Neilson’s accuser giving rise to the November charges was Barnard herself, according to the probable cause statement filed by the arresting police department in connection with the arrest.
      I hope that helps?
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • San January 4, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Makes me wonder what happened to her, that night and before.

  • Dominick December 31, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I miss you dad it’s 2019 tomorrow me and mom really miss you a lot

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