Family friend allegedly started fatal fire

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by Rucks Russell / 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:20 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 23 at 5:52 PM

HOUSTON -- In a case that has smoldered for years, a Houston couple now knows who started the fire that killed their son.

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Family friend allegedly started fatal fire
September 3, 2008

"Five years is a long time, and all you can do is pray," said Karen Farley, victim's mother.

Raymond Farley was 16-years-old when he died in a house fire while staying with a family friend. But he wasn't the only victim. An eight year-old-girl also perished in the flames. She was the daughter of the homeowners who arson investigators believe may be responsible for starting the deadly fire in May 2003.

"The fire was initially set with the goal of containing it. Then it grew outside the control," said Detective Lonnie Blevins.

Last week, prosecutors charged David Watkins, the homeowner, with one count of murder. He's been released on bond.

His wife, Sharon Watkins, faces two counts of murder. Authorities said she's on the run, possibly in her red Expedition. They suspect she is hiding out in Houston's 3rd ward.

"We just want her to do the right thing. Just turn herself in," said Watkins' mother.

Prior to the deadly blaze, the house had caught fire on five separate occasions. Three were deemed suspicious, and investigators say the Watkins had collected over a half million dollars in insurance claims. Investigators think they wanted money, but never intended to kill anyone.

"I have three kids, and I get to see my kids each day. They're not going to see their son anymore," said Detective Kelly McQueen.

But because of the investigation, they could see justice, and get the closure they've been looking for.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Sharon Watkins is urged to call Crime Stoppers.

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