HOUSTON COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Deputies with the Houston County Sheriff's Office arrested a 35-year-old man on May 25 after he allegedly set a fire in a bedroom of a home, molested a 14-year-old girl, and prevented her from leaving the flame-engulfed room.
Derrick Dyon Batts is still being held in the Houston County Jail on three felony charges - arson, indecency with a child, and endangering a child.
According to one of the arrest affidavits, firefighters responded to a fire at a home in the 200 block of County Road 1500. When emergency personnel arrived on the scene, they found the home was fully engulfed in flames.
The fire marshal and an HCSO investigator spoke to a 14-year-old girl who had been in the home when the fire started. She told them that she and Batts had been in the bedroom where the blaze started before and after the fire.
In addition, the alleged victim told authorities that Batts had been touching her "private parts," and she had pushed him away in an effort to get him to stop. After the fire started, Batts allegedly kept her from leaving the room even though the flames were all around her.
The girl was only able to escape by pushing past Batts after her mother intervened, the affidavit stated. When the fire marshal and the HCSO investigator spoke to the girl's mother, she told them she ran into the home after she saw the fire in the bedroom.
According to the affidavit, the girl's mother told authorities that Batts tried to block her from entering the room by standing in the doorway. He allegedly told her, "It's too late."
Further investigation revealed that Batts set the fire in the home's bedroom. The arrest affidavit for the arson charge said that fire investigators ruled out an accidental cause for the fire.
"Batts was the only occupant in the room of origin," the affidavit stated. "In addition, he was seen by a witness running out of the house with a cigarette lighter in his hand immediately after the fire started."
Batts was detained at the scene of the fire, and he was found to have two lighters on his person, the affidavit stated.