HOLIDAY — A 23-year-old man is suspected of killing his father and then setting his house on fire on New Year's Eve, authorities said.
Baron Von Duke Vercruysse was arrested Tuesday in connection with the death of his father, Rene Dominique Vercruysse, 52. The Pasco Sheriff's Office did not release details Tuesday on how Rene Vercruysse was killed, only saying he died of "homicidal violence," and that Baron Von Duke Vercruysse then set a small fire in their home at 5617 Mosaic Drive.
Authorities responded to the fire about 10:20 p.m. Monday and found Rene's body. Pasco detectives believe a dispute between father and son prompted the killing, but did not disclose the nature of the dispute.
"We're still looking into the events that led up to his (Rene's) death," said Pasco sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin.
Detectives searched for Baron Von Duke Vercruysse on Tuesday morning until learning he was in the Holiday Lakes Estates area, where he was arrested on a first-degree murder charge, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Baron Von Duke Vercruysse's prior arrest record includes charges of larceny and possession of a controlled substance, according to state records.
The home in the Forest Hills subdivision is registered to Elizabeth Vercruysse, property records show, but longtime next-door neighbor Randall Tilton said only the father and son lived there. Tilton said he heard a scream late Monday night, just before authorities responded to the fire.
"It was more than just a 'Happy New Year' thing," Tilton, 64, said Tuesday. "It was sharp. It scared me."
The fire was contained mostly to a bedroom, authorities said. The only visible damage from outside the home was one burned-out, smashed-in bedroom window.
Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report.