American River Arson Suspect Says She Sets Fires As Cry For Help
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — An arson suspect accused of setting a fire on the American River Parkway spoke to CBS13.
This isn’t the first time Evangeline Deutsch has been accused of arson. She didn’t come right out and admit to starting Thursday’s fire, but she says she’s set fires in the past as a cry for help.
“On a whim, you just go and do something that is normally not you,” she said. “The fire was an expression of how angry I was, I couldn’t get any help to deal with that anger.”
Deutsch was also arrested back in 2010 for arson and is still on probation for that crime.
A witness told police on Thursday that they saw Deutsch standing over the flames just after a fire started near Highway 160 along the American River Parkway.
Investigators believe she could be responsible for other parkway fires this summer, including several in Rancho Cordova.
“There’s motivation by vandalism, thrill seekers, financial gain, intimidation, and there is also that psychological need to start fires,” said Asst. Fire Chief Scott Williams.
After hearing about the CBS13 jailhouse interview with Deutsch, Williams says that need could be what motivates her.
He says arsonists usually start off on a smaller scale.
“Burning papers, burning things in trash cans, and they usually graduate to larger things like grass fires, house fires. You want to catch someone early before they get someone hurt.”
To get someone’s attention, to say, ‘Hey, I need help,’ Deutsch said. “’Cause if I verbally tell a person, they ignore it. It’s the only way to go, ‘Hey I’m serious, I need help.’”
She says she needs help, but doesn’t seem to care about the consequences of igniting the flames. When asked about the possibility of someone being injured by one of her fires, she said, “Then they deserved it.”
Williams says people like Deutsch need help, and if she’s convicted, hopefully she’ll get it.
“That’s one of the best things for her right now. Now that she’s in jail, hopefully her attorney will try and get some help for her.”
Investigators don’t know if she’s responsible for other fires. Witnesses have described a male suspect in some of those, so investigators think there could be multiple people starting fires.