Ronnie Paul Bumgarner, 23, no adds available, was charged with felony 1st degree arson resulting from the fire at the Super 8 hotel on Highway 105 in Boone.
About 3 a.m on Feb. 7, the Boone Police Department and Boone Fire Department responded to the hotel and quickly determined the fire had been intentionally started. Someone had tried to set fires in three different locations, causing serious damage in one area on the motel. Police said many guests were sleeping in the Super 8 that night.
After interviewing hotel occupants, police identified Bumgarner as a suspect. Police questioned him at the hotel that morning, and he denied setting the fire.
Investigators collected multiple items of forensic evidence at the Super 8 and sent them to the North Carolina State Crime Lab to be analyzed. Investigators were also granted a search warrant from a judge to obtain a DNA sample from Bumgarner.
“The collected DNA sample from Mr. Bumgarner was sent to the North Carolina State Crime Lab to be compared with the DNA samples collected at the fire scene,” Lt. Chris Hatton, Boone Investigations Division commander said in the news release. “The results of that comparison indicate that Mr. Bumgarner’s DNA was found on key pieces of evidence in this crime.”
On Friday, police located Bumgarner in the Forsyth County Jail, where he was served with an arson arrest warrant. Bumgarner was set to appear in Watauga County District Court on July 26. His bond was $250,000.