Suspect in fire is captured after three-day search Man's ex-girlfriend, son in home that was set ablaze Monday

July 31, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

An intensive three-day search near Westminster ended yesterday when police apprehended an 18-year-old man accused of setting fire to the home of his ex-girlfriend and their son, authorities said.

Chris Lee Myers of the Westminster area was captured about 2: 30 p.m. yesterday in a wooded area west of Carroll County Farm Museum, several miles from the fire scene.

jTC He was charged with five counts of first-degree assault, five counts of reckless endangerment and burglary.

The search -- which included state police helicopters and dogs -- began late Monday after witnesses saw a man leaving the area on a bicycle after a blaze broke out in a garage attached to the home of David Hommerbocker in the 2800 block of Graybill Court in New Windsor.

The Hommerbockers, including Myers' former girlfriend, Kelly Hommerbocker, 18, and 15-month-old Curtis Lee Myers, their son, were in the house when the fire started about 10: 45 p.m. No one was injured, authorities said.

State fire marshals determined the fire was caused by an incendiary device. A warrant for Myers' arrest was obtained.

The search Monday was unsuccessful. Police received reports Tuesday and Wednesday that the suspect had been seen in the Westminster area. A sighting Wednesday evening touched off an intensive search for several hours in a wooded area west of the farm museum on both sides of the Maryland Midland Railway tracks and a tributary of Little Pipe Creek.

About 15 state police troopers and aviation and police dog units, fire marshals and troopers assigned to a tactical unit were involved in the search.

Troopers found a bicycle believed to be the suspect's along the Maryland Midland tracks Wednesday night, said 1st Sgt. Andy Mays of the Westminster barracks.

The search resumed about 7 a.m. yesterday after Trooper Christina Becker saw the suspect in the area of Goodwins Quarry Road.

Westminster police and state troopers were deployed in hopes of containing the suspect until police dog units, assisted by a helicopter, could find him.

"We even flew in a second bloodhound to assist," Mays said.

By about noon, searchers altered their strategy, in part to give the dogs a rest. The helicopter was ordered to leave the area in hopes of enticing the suspect out of hiding.

Search ends in stream bed

About 1: 30 p.m., the dogs began another sweep and, at 2: 25 p.m., Tfc. Craig Williams saw a man hiding in a stream bed. Williams summoned the helicopter, which hovered above the suspect as the police dog units closed in.

At 2: 30 p.m., Williams reported a suspect was in custody.

Myers was taken by helicopter to the Westminster barracks. He was being held at the Carroll County Detention Center, pending a bail hearing today.

Relationship ended

Kelly Hommerbocker said she endured a stormy four-year relationship with Myers, often being threatened with physical harm.

She said that relationship ended Monday after he allegedly threatened her and punched her.

She said she will change her son's name from Myers to Hommerbocker.

Pub Date: 7/31/98

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