Arson Charges Filed Against Couple
On Tuesday, September 26, 2017 at about 2:00 AM Beaufort County Emergency Communications received a call reporting a Camper Fire at the Twin Lakes Campground on Whichard’s Beach Road in Chocowinity. First Responders from the Chocowinity Fire Department, Washington Fire Department, Blounts Creek Fire Department, Chocowinity EMS, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and the Beaufort County Fire Marshall responded to the call. After the fire was extinguished, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Investigators along with the Beaufort County Fire Marshall began an investigation into the origin and cause of the fire. Investigators found one neighbor was slightly injured while trying to get the occupants out of the camper and a cat perished in the fire.
After viewing the scene, documenting and collecting evidence, interviewing the two occupants of the camper and other witnesses in the campground, investigators quickly determined the fire to the camper and two other subsequent fires on the same lot were intentionally set.
During further investigation into the Camper Owners, John Joseph Collins Jr, age 63 and his wife Lynn Sue Collins, age 62, investigators learned the Collins’ had multiple suspicious fires, at their places of residence in the past, including fires in Pennsylvania, Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. Four of those fires occurred within the last 18 months. Based on evidence collected at the scene, and interviews conducted in this case, and evidence from some of the previous fires, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Investigators arrested John and Lynn Collins on October 4, 2017. They were both charged with 2 counts each of First Degree Arson, 2 counts each of the Burning of Personal Property and 1 count each of Felony Cruelty to Animals. Both are being held in the Beaufort County Detention Center under a $100,000.00 secured bond.