Jennifer Ann Schofield of Volusia County, Florida was arrested on Tuesday after investigators accused her of attempting to burn down her home after getting into a fight with her husband. Schofield, 39, was reportedly booked into Volusia County Branch Jail on charges of first-degree arson and child abuse, where she remains incarcerated on $12,000 bail bond. It is not clear whether Schofield, whose first court appearance is scheduled for today, has retained a private criminal defense lawyer.
According to news reports, Schofield was apprehended after her husband called police to report that his wife had fled and that his home was on fire. William Schroeder, 56, alleged that he and Schofield had argues about an undisclosed topic on the phone on Tuesday right after midnight. After hanging up, Schofield allegedly knocked over Schroeder’s motorcycle, which was in their garage. The location of the residence and the make of the motorcycle were not mentioned in press reports.
Schofield allegedly started the fire by tying a bandana to the toppled motorcycle and lighting in on fire. She then allegedly went to the couple’s shared bedroom and set fire to Schroeder’s dresser. Schroeder alleged that he saw Schofield driving away when he returned to the home with the couples’ 3-year-old child shortly afterwards. it is not clear where he and the child were returning from.
During the incident, Schofield was allegedly caring for a one-year-old child. It remains unclear whether the child is hers, nor do reports mention whether she took the child with her when she fled the burning residence. It does not appear as though anyone was hurt in the alleged arson attempt, so Schofield likely did take the child with her. The fire allegedly cost about $2,000 in damages. It is not clear whether the fire is covered by the couples’ insurance.
According to press reports, Schroeder put out the flames himself before going to a relative’s home nearby and leaving the three-year-old in their care. Soon after, just before 1:30 a.m., Edgewater deputies reportedly located Schofield at an undisclosed location. She was subsequently arrested. It does not appear as though she resisted arrest.
Schofield was not the only Floridian to be accused of misconduct involving a child recently. Larry Cornelius Stephens of St. Petersburg, Florida was reportedly arrested on Tuesday after he allegedly placed over 3 ounces of marijuana and a scale in his 6-year-old son’s backpack before sending the child to school. Stephens, 25, was arrested on charges of possession of marijuana with intent to sell and child abuse and booked at Pinellas County Jail. He is still incarcerated in lieu of paying $15,000 bail bond, sources indicate.
According to the press, Stephens packed the marijuana and a scale in his son’s backpack before dropping the child off at Campbell Park Elementary Marine Science Center. Upon discovering the contents of the backpack, the child reportedly showed his kindergarten teacher, saying, “look what I’ve got.” The contents of the backpack were promptly confiscated, and when Stephens returned to the school ten minutes later, allegedly to retrieve the drug, he was quoted as telling school staff that he needed the marijuana to “take care of his family” before leaving.