Accused arsonist captured in Centralia without incident, now in custody

JEFFERSON COUNTY — The 49-year-old Centralia man who has been the subject of a multi-county manhunt is now in custody on a charge of aggravated arson.

John Brown (Source: JCSO)
John Brown
(Source: JCSO)

According to Jefferson County Sheriff’ Travis Allen, Jefferson County Dispatch was able to ping John H. Brown’s phone in Centralia. Centralia PD had also received reports of Brown sightings in their area and been working to locate him.

Sheriff Allen and Chief Deputy Taylor traveled to Centralia and met with Centralia police and Marion County Sheriff’s deputies.

They then responded to an address in the 300 block of South Lincoln in Centralia where they made contact with Brown. He was taken into custody without incident and ultimately transported to the Jefferson County Jail.

Allen personally thanked the Centralia Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office and all the citizens who helped out today, noting they are thankful the incident ended the way it did.

Law enforcement had been hunting for Brown since late Wednesday night, after he allegedly poured gasoline around the inside of a home in the 4200 block of Dix/Irvington Road, and with his family still inside threatened to set it ablaze.

The occupants of the home ultimately fled, and Brown was last seen exiting out the back of the home and heading into the woods on foot.

While Centralia Fire Protection District firefighters were still on scene fighting the blaze, law enforcement reportedly received a text message from Brown, who vowed he would not be taken alive. There were no injuries reported, but the home and its contents appear to be a complete loss.