Apartment fire in Muskegon Heights result of escalating domestic violence

Muskegon Heights ruled arson

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, MICH. - The May 28 apartment fire that left a woman and child seriously injured in Muskegon Heights has been ruled an arson. 

According to the Muskegon Heights Fire Chief Chris Dean, after a five day investigation, officials determined the fire was set intentionally in multiple locations inside of the apartment at 645 Easy Hovey Avenue. 

Darius Aubrey, 25,  faces three felony charges including arson. Investigators say Aubrey is the former boyfriend of the woman injured in the apartment.

A 4-year-old girl was also injured. Both were found unconscious inside the apartment, and rescued by a Muskegon Heights Firefighter.

The woman is now out of the hospital, the child is expected to survive but is still recovering at the hospital. 

Friday, June 2 fire investigators announced the fire was intentionally set in multiple locations inside the apartment.

The investigation reached a point where Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson could issue charges against Aubrey.

He was arrested Thursday, June 1 by the U.S. Marshal Fugitive Team.

Prosecutor Hilson says Aubrey and the adult victim had a violent and volatile relationship. Aubrey is accused of injuring the woman in February of this year.

The woman was treated at a hospital but did not report the injury to police.

"Unfortunately victims of domestic violence sometimes live in a world of fear," said Hilson. 

Aubrey is charged with aggravated domestic violence second offense. 

In court a Muskegon Heights Police detective told a judge the woman received nine staples to close a head injury.

The detective said the injury was caused by Aubrey's fist or as the result of him pushing her down stairs. Aubrey is also accused of entering the woman's apartment and stealing food, and the arson charge.

"It is a life-felony and it sits on the highest sentencing grid that we have in the state of Michigan," said Hilson.

In seeking warrants the Muskegon Heights detective also told the judge two mattresses inside the apartment were lit on fire. The victim told police Aubrey had a key to her apartment, and that she woke to find him in her bedroom the morning of the fire.  

She went on to tell detectives the next thing she remembers is waking up in the hospital.

Aubrey is being held in the Muskegon County Jail. He's due back in court later this month for preliminary hearings on all three charges.

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