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Court Docs: Suspect claims she started fire at a Trinidad business to ‘retaliate’ against boyfriend

TRINIDAD, Colo.(KRDO) -- An arrest affidavit for a Trinidad woman accused of arson provides insight into the possible motive for the fire.

On Jan. 19, the Trinidad Fire Department responded to a structure fire at 166 E. 1st St., which was office space for Fisher's Peak Chiropractic Clinic and Aye Naturopathic.

According to court documents, Fire Inspector Margaret Maria determined the fire began on or near the back porch and spread to the attic area.

TRINIDAD POLICE DEPARTMENT

After three hours, crews were able to extinguish the flames. However, the fire reignited the next morning just before 6 a.m. That led to the building sustaining even more damage.

Court documents state the fire went through two mental doors into a back office, where patient records were stored, causing extreme damage to the interior of the building and attic area.

According to the affidavit, investigators obtained video surveillance footage that showed a woman - identified as Sherry Abeyta - seen in the area before and after the fire broke out.

The affidavit states Abeyta is seen "nonchalantly" walking to the rear of the porch from the sidewalk and then leaving the area in a more "hurried" fashion. Within a minute of her leaving the area, investigators note "visible flames can be seen on camera as the rear porch is engulfed in fire."

On Monday, Jan. 23, Abeyta was asked to voluntarily come to the Trinidad Police Department for an interview. The affidavit states during that interview Abeyta was wearing the same jacket she was seen wearing in the surveillance video.

Investigators confronted Abeyta with photographs of herself from surveillance cameras at the scene of the fire.

According to the affidavit, Abeyta admitted to starting the fire to retaliate against her boyfriend, Bruce Salazar, for being "involved" with another "female."

In the affidavit, investigators note Salazar was homeless and had been recently using the porch where the fire began as an encampment. However, he wasn't there when the fire began.

Abeyta told investigators she used a lighter to ignite a blanket and walked away from the scene "fully aware the fire had started."

DAMAGE SEEN FROM THE DOORS

KRDO spoke with the daughter-in-law of the owner, Regina Morelli-Low, who said her father-in-law Dr. Low is completely heartbroken. She said he lost everything.

Abeyta was charged with First Degree Arson and her bond is set at $45,000.

The family of Dr. Low started an online fundraiser to help with rebuilding costs. Click here if you want to donate.

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Barbara Fox

Barbara is a reporter based out of Pueblo for KRDO

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