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Jones county trio suspected of arson and fraud

JONES COUNTY, Miss. - This is a press release from the Jones County Sheriff's department.

On January 9, 2016, fire units responded to a fully engulfed house fire at 210 Bush Road, Laurel, the residence of Samuel D. Taylor, 36, and Justin D. Taylor, 31. After the fire was extinguished, Jones County Sheriff’s Fire Investigator, Sgt. Scott Gable and an investigator from the Mississippi Fire Marshal’s Office investigated the scene. It was determined the residence was sparsely furnished prior to the blaze.

It wasn’t long before the insurance company turned in to investigators a contents list that was submitted by the policyholder, Lisa Thornton, 50 of Laurel, Justin’s mother. It was quickly determined there were several items on the contents list that were not in the home at the time of the fire. Those items were actually located at 3 Abbey Lane, the location of Double A Towing and Recovery, a business owned by Samuel and Justin.

A search warrant was issued on May 9, 2016 for the business. Investigators and deputies found a majority of the items on the insurance company’s contents list were indeed at that address. Justin was interviewed and admitted to removing items from his and Samuel’s residence and moving them to their business address. It was also revealed that Thornton had knowledge of the items being moved but put them on the contents list for the insurance company anyway.

Gable also took sworn statements from witnesses that stated Samuel admitted to starting the house fire and Justin had full knowledge of this act. Thornton, Justin and Samuel were taken into custody on May 9, 2016.

Thornton is charged with Fraud; Justin and Samuel have been charged with Fraud and Arson. Multiple charges are pending on Justin and Samuel. As the investigation progressed, it was determined the men had fraudulently charged insurance companies for claiming towing that never took place on their personal vehicles. This investigation is ongoing. Initial appearances have yet to be scheduled.



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