A truck driver hailing from Florida was arrested in Tyre, New York, after he allegedly covered a 1-year-old in “flammable liquid” and tried to light the child on fire at a gas station.
Around 5:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office responded to a Love’s Truck Stop after a report of fires inside the building, police said in a press conference on Wednesday.
Upon arriving at the scene, police say they “located two suspects that allegedly started and attempted to start the fires,” and the two – one of whom has since been identified as Jamie Avery Jr. – were immediately detained.
“Upon further investigation, sheriff’s deputies found that the two were in the company of a 1-year-old child that was covered in flammable liquid,” said Sheriff Timothy Luce, adding that the child was rushed to Geneva General Hospital.
“It is alleged that the two suspects poured a flammable liquid on the 1-year-old child and attempted to light the child on fire inside the building,” police said. “Luckily, the two were unsuccessful.”
“While sheriff’s deputies were checking the building, a suspicious device was located in the men’s bathroom,” police continued, noting that the building was immediately evacuated and the Monroe County Bomb Squad, as well as other units from the Ontario County Sheriff’s Office and Wayne County Sheriff’s office, responded to the scene.
About four hours later the building was declared safe, and “the suspicious device was determined to be a makeshift replica and not incendiary in nature.”
“A second child, 4 years old, was located, injured and abandoned, in the cab of a tractor-trailer in relation to the incident. Sheriff’s deputies forced entry into the cab and removed the child,” said police, who later added they believe the child was in Avery’s semi-truck.
The child was immediately transported to Geneva General Hospital by North Seneca Ambulance and was later airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital by LifeNet with suspected head injuries.
Both children have been medically treated and are expected to make full recoveries, and are also in the custody of Seneca County Human Services. Police say they believe there is a “parental relationship” and the children are related, but they have not fully determined that yet.
“Circumstances surrounding the 4-year-old are still under investigation,” police said during the news conference.
Avery, 28, of West Palm Beach, Florida, was charged with attempted aggravated murder, attempted murder in the second degree, arson in the second degree, attempted arson in the second degree, and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child.
It is anticipated that the second suspect will be charged in the near future, and both may face additional charges as the investigation continues, according to police.
It was not immediately clear if Avery has obtained legal representation to comment on his behalf.
We’re relieved to hear the children are okay. That man is a monster and should be treated as such.