Man arrested for allegedly setting his ex-wife’s daycare center on fire

LAPLACE – A man has been arrested for allegedly trying to set fire to his ex-wife’s daycare center in Laplace.

Timothy Charles, Jr., 39, was booked into St. John Parish Correctional Center on charges of both aggravated arson and simple burglary.

The St. John Parish Fire Department responded to the fire in the 100 block of W. 5th St. on May 16 at 11:30 p.m. Firefighters reported that the building was fully engulfed in flames upon arrival. At least three vehicles were destroyed and investigators indicated the fire posed a threat to an occupied neighboring home.

Investigators determined the fire was deliberately set and identified Charles, the ex-husband of the daycare owner, as the suspect. Charles was taken into custody Saturday morning.

No booking photo was provided due to Law No. 494, which imposes restrictions on mugshots released to the media for most crimes, with exceptions for certain violent crimes.

The Louisiana State Fire Marshal says although the building currently serves as a daycare center, many recognize it as a former church.

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help Little Harvard Learning Academy. Donations will go towards teaching materials, teaching materials and other equipment lost in the fire. The daycare owner says because she didn’t own the building, she won’t be able to replace what was lost.

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