Insurance Commissioner presents arson award - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Insurance Commissioner presents arson award

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November 6, 2007

Valdosta - Its now a vacant lot, but two years ago this was the scene of four murders.

And Tuesday, Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine presented a nine thousand dollar check to the person who helped law enforcers catch their killer.  "Because of this individual coming forward, this case might have never been solved," he says.

The tip giver asked to stay anonymous, as she's been for over two years.

But it was the information she gave that helped find 38 year-old Cynthia Allen and put her behind bars for life.  "This is a very serious arson-murder case and because of a local citizen coming forward, we have been able to solve this case. Ms. Allen has been convicted and is serving four life sentences," Commissioner Oxendine adds.

They say in October of 2005, Allen set fire to a home on Troup Street. 

Nine people were asleep inside.  Valdosta Fire Chief J.D. Rice recalls, "We were able to safely get five of the occupants out and of course there was two more in it The fire was so intense, the roof of the house started collapsing and we were unable to get to the second level of the house to rescue the victims there."

Thanks to the tip, Allen was arrested that same day.

Investigators say it without it, Allen may still be roaming the streets today. "We could have determined it was an intentionally set fire but it would be almost impossible to find out who did it unless we got cooperation from the citizens," Chief Rice says.

And this check presentation now serves as final closure to the worst murder-arson case in Valdosta's modern day history.

So far, the insurance commissioners office has given out 1 million dollars in arson reward money. But they say putting arsonist behind bars is worth every penny.

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