A Conway teen is charged as an adult with attempted murder and arson after reportedly setting his adoptive parents’ home on fire in late-August while the couple was sleeping.
Titus Patrick Jordan, 17, was formally charged Friday with arson and two counts of attempted capital murder after he reportedly admitted to starting the Aug. 26 house fire in an attempt to kill his adoptive parents.
At first, the teen told detective Hayden Schmitt that he set fire to the Duncan Street residence because he was upset his parents did not come looking for him when he ran away three nights prior. The 17-year-old claimed he planned to set himself on fire after setting the house on fire so that the couple that adopted him would be “emotionally hurt like him,” according to the affidavit.
Schmitt interviewed the teen the next day, pointing out that his previous statement did not seem likely because he fled the home with a suitcase that had “enough clothing to sustain him for a long period of time.” The detective also questioned Jordan about a dream he reportedly told his adoptive mother about the Saturday (Aug. 24) before the house fire, which was Monday, Aug. 26. According to the affidavit, Jordan told his mother he had a dream about the house burning down, “and that he was the only person to survive.”
“He changed his story several times throughout the interview, but he did admit that he did want his parents to die,” Schmitt wrote in his report. “[Jordan also admitted that] he came up with and executed his plan to burn the house down.”
When police initially responded to the early-morning house fire, they were met by Jordan’s mother, who was “dragging a water hose around the front of the house” to put out the fire.
The teen’s adoptive father told police he woke up as the couple’s home began to fill up with smoke and soon found “a charred washcloth on one of the burners on the kitchen stove.”
When the couple woke up to find portions of their house had been set on fire, they also realized their son was missing. According to the affidavit, the teen’s window was left open and a plastic chair that had been set on fire was pushed up against the side of the house underneath it.
In the hallway, police found a box that was “covered with some sort of oily substance,” the affidavit states.
The Conway Fire Department was called to assess the scene shortly after 1 a.m. Aug. 26. Authorities located several scorched spots throughout the couple’s home, the report states.
Along with the damages caused by the fire, the couple noted that a PlayStation 4 gaming system was also missing.
The couple suspected their adopted son ran away to a friend’s house on Oliver Street. However, according to the report, he was not there when police searched for him. Officers also searched the surrounding area with no luck as the investigation began.
The next day, the report states a woman spotted Jordan outside the First United Methodist Church, which is located next to the couple’s home. The woman said she saw the teen “attempt to hide a suitcase behind the church dumpster” and that when she called out to confront him, he grabbed the suitcase and went back home.
Authorities ultimately arrested the teen at the Duncan Street residence and took him to the Faulkner County Detention Center on Aug. 27.
Formal charges were filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court against the 17-year-old. On Monday, Circuit Judge Troy Braswell Jr. signed an order barring the teen from contacting his adoptive parents. As of press time Thursday, a court date in Jordan’s case had not yet been set.
Staff writer Marisa Hicks can be reached at email@example.com.