Punta Gorda woman charged with setting mother’s house on fire
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Punta Gorda woman has been arrested and charged with setting a fire in a home she shared with her mother last December, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s office said Tuesday.
Elizabeth Catherine Lafleur, 30, was charged with arson June 20 after an investigation by state investigators.
On Dec. 20, 2020, fire crews were dispatched to a home in the 2500 block of Grover Avenue. When they arrived, they discovered that relatives of the homeowner who lived nearby had responded first and extinguished a fire inside the home. A laundry basket full of clothes appeared to have been set on fire in the laundry room.
Arson investigators determined that lighter fluid had been poured on the clothes in a plastic laundry basket and set ablaze. Burn damage to the wood floor and walls of the room were evident, according to the investigator’s report.
Lafleur’s sister, Jamie Nipper, who lives next door to her mother, told investigators that Lafleur had been acting paranoid earlier that morning. She arrived at Nipper’s home saying she “did something really stupid,” and added she had set her house on fire.
Other relatives living nearly were able to enter the home, put out the fire and drag the laundry basket outside the home before firefighters arrived. Lafleur, witnesses say, grabbed her mother’s pet bird and disappeared in the nearby woods.
Based on witness accounts and physical evidence, a request for a warrant was filed Feb. 9 for Lafleur’s arrest. She was booked into the Charlotte County Jail June 20.
Lafleur has a history of theft and drug arrests dating back to 2007, sheriff’s office records show.
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