Sarasota News Leader

03/28/2014

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A Nokomis arson case dubbed a "hate crime" last summer has been closed by the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal, which cites "no further leads" as the reason for conclud- ing its investigation. Allie Langley and her partner, Carrie Wojtczak, realized their trailer was on fire early in the morning of Aug. 24, 2013, and narrowly escaped, discovering outside that the tires of the couple's car had been slashed and that the water pipes to their home had been smashed. Langley told The Sarasota News Leader at the time that she suspected the couple was targeted for being lesbians and that neighbors had repeatedly thrown eggs, fruit and rocks at their trailer. Shortly afterwards, LGBT activist Julia Nowak — who has repeatedly pushed Sarasota County to adopt an anti-discrimina- tion ordinance that would protect gays and lesbians — called the arson a "hate crime." LGBT activist Ken Shelin, meanwhile, used the case as an example of how intolerant the region can still be for gays and lesbians. According to the Fire Marshal's Case Master Report requested by the News Leader, the state concluded its investigation on Feb. 24, citing "no further leads" as the reason. "The origin of the fire was determined to be intentionally ignited combustible/flammable material(s)," the report states. "There were no other probable fire causes in the area of origin." Lab results later concluded that fire "accelerants" were not used. One person of interest was identified in the investigation, a neighbor with whom Langley Image from the Florida Division of State Fire Marshal STATE FIRE MARSHAL CLOSES POSSIBLY ANTI-LGBT NOKOMIS ARSON CASE, CITING 'NO FURTHER LEADS' EXTINGUISHED By Cooper Levey-Baker Associate Editor

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