At a press conference today, officials have confirmed two arrests were made in connection to the fatal house fire that killed two kids on May 15th in Guthrie Center.
The Guthrie County Sheriff’s office and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation said 26-year-old Patrick Thompson of Ames and 46-year-old James Exline of Jefferson were arrested today. Thompson is the stepson of Exline, and has been charged on five counts related directly to the fire: two counts of first degree murder, a class A felony; two counts of attempted murder, a class B felony; and one count of first degree arson, a class B felony. He was arrested in Ames by Guthrie County Sheriff’s deputies, DCI agents, and the Ames Police Department.
At this time, Exline is not being charged with anything directly related to the fire and homicides. Instead he was arrested on charges of second degree sexual abuse second offense, and third degree sexual abuse second offense, both class A felonies. He was already in police custody for a probation violation. The charges stem from incidents involving his daughter, 12-year-old Paige Exline, who was one of the victims in the fire. The fire also claimed the life of his niece, 16-year-old Shakiah Cockerham.
Both men are being held in the Guthrie County Jail. The investigation is ongoing, and Raccoon Valley Radio will continue to bring more information as it’s made official.