William Ogden Alexander, 32, or Jonesville was arrested June 8 on simple arson charges by forestry enforcement. officers with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) for setting fires at a Catahoula Parish cemetery.
Investigators allege Alexander set fire to the cemetery property on two separate days. Those fires spread to nearby woods and burned a half-acre of timber. Local volunteer fire departments and LDAF Forestry Fire Eradication Units extinguished the fires.
"LDAF officers located a suspect who was observed at the scene of the fire earlier that day," according to an LDAF press release.
Officers arrested Alexander on one count of simple arson and two counts of possession of a Schedule III controlled dangerous substance and booked him into the Catahoula Parish Jail. As of Friday, June 16, 2023, he remained in the jail on $30,000 bond.
“There are 18.9 million acres of land under fire protection by LDAF’s Forest Protection Division,” said Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Mike Strain. “Even in a small area, the potential for a resulting wildfire can cause damage and destruction to life and property. Arson is a crime we take very seriously.”
Note: All persons accused of any crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The public is urged to report any forestry-related crimes to the LDAF Office of Forestry at 225-925-4500 or LDAF’s 24-hour hotline at 1-855-452-5323.