LEE COUNTY, AL - The Lee County Sheriff's Office has arrested and charged Helen Irene Schmear (19), of Valley, and Leon Lane Jr. (20), of Auburn, with one count each of Arson in the First Degree. They are both currently being held in the Lee County Detention Facility on a ($25,000.00) Twenty Five Thousand Dollar bond.
On April 11, 2009, the Lee County Sheriff's Office received a 911 call in reference to a possible house fire at 88 Lee Road 730, Cusseta, Lee County, Alabama. When Deputies arrived at the scene, the home had an active burning fire on the right side of the residence and the fire had spread into the leaves of the yard.
Neighbors of the homeowner and emergency response personnel were able to combine their efforts and extinguished the fire.
A fourty three year old female and her six week old grandson were inside the residence but was able to escape without any injuries. According to witnesses, shortly prior to the fire they observed a white car that was parked in the victim's yard and was occupied by an unknown male and female.
According to the homeowner, while inside her residence she observed, through one of her windows, a male carrying a bucket to the side of the house, heard a whoosh sound, and then saw the fire. She imediately grabbed her grandson and ran out the back door. The Lee County Sheriff's Office and the State Fire Marshall's Office conducted a joint investigation of this reported Arson case.
Helen Irene Schmear and Leon Lane Jr. were later identified as suspects in this case and charged with Arson. The motive of this case is still under investigation. If anyone has any additional information about this incident please contact the Lee County Sheriff's Office at 1-800-239-7072 or contact Lee County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-522-7847.