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Grundy County Woman Charged with Aggravated Arson and Cruelty to Animals

A TBI investigation into a residential fire in Grundy County in which a dog was killed has resulted in the indictment and arrest of a Beersheba Springs woman.

On June 14th, TBI special agent fire investigators joined the Altamont Fire Department and the Grundy County Sheriff’s Department in investigating a fire at a residence on Besstown Road in Beersheba Springs. During the investigation, agents learned that the fire had been intentionally set. One person and a dog had been inside the home at the time of the ignition. The individual got out of the house, but the dog perished. The investigation identified Melissa Barks as the individual responsible for setting the fire. It indicated that she knew the animal was inside the home when the fire was ignited.

In November, the Grundy County Grand Jury returned indictments charging 53 year-old Melissa Kay Barks with one count each of Aggravated Arson, Arson, and Felony Cruelty to Animals. Barks was arrested Thursday and booked into the Grundy County Jail on a bond of $75,000.