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Teen tries to burn family

An Appleton teen is behind bars after she allegedly tried to burn her house down with four family members inside.

Chief Deputy Mike Lambert with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said the teen – identified as 17-year-old Love Freedom Rutledge – is charged with first-degree arson and four counts of attempted murder.

“Because of her age and crimes of which she is charged, by law she will be

Rutledge

Rutledge

adjudicated as an adult,” Lambert said.

While few details are being released in the case as the investigation is ongoing, Lambert disclosed emergency personnel were dispatched to the McGougin Road home at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday.

“The call came in as a structure fire,” he said. “When area fire departments, law enforcement and EMS responded, four people were found outside the home. One of those had suffered severe burns and was transported to D.W. McMillan Hospital and later the burn unit at (University of South Alabama hospital in Mobile).

“The other three occupants were treated for minor injuries and smoke inhalation and released from DWM; however, the fifth occupant – who we identified as Miss Rutledge – was not at the scene when we arrived,” Lambert said.

K-9 tracking units from prisons in Alabama and Florida were called in for the search, and Rutledge was found a short time later in a wooded area near the home.

The case remains under investigation by the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, the Alabama Fire Marshal’s office and local fire departments.

As of press time, Rutledge remained in the Escambia County Detention Center, awaiting a bond hearing.