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UAPD continues search for fraternity house arson suspect

By Liz Dailey
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 5, 1998
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University police took the fingerprints of a former Alpha Tau Omega fraternity member last week as part of their ongoing effort to solve a July 12 arson that gutted the frat's former on-campus house, a police official said yesterday.

Cmdr. Brian Seastone, of the University of Arizona Police Department, said officers recorded the fingerprints of Brian D. Ross, 21, of the 0-to-100 block of East Adams Street, to assist in their investigation.

Ross was named as an "investigative lead" in the case after two ATO couches and the front door of the now-deserted frat house were found at the Adams Street house, which he once shared with former ATO member Christopher C. Eddy.

"He (Ross) is still the investigative lead," Seastone said. "Ross had the door, but we're not ready to say he's the one who did it."

Seastone added police served a search warrant on Ross Tuesday in order to fingerprint him.

University police investigators since July have been trying to solve the arson that gutted the house - now condemned and vacant - at 1050 N. Cherry Ave. The blaze caused an estimated $850,000 in damage.

Alpha Tau Omega, which was forced out of the house after losing its charter in May, still owned the residence and was negotiating a sale with Delta Tau Delta, Greek Life Coordinator Bob Gordon said in July.

The three-alarm blaze, which occurred sometime before 5:30 a.m., was facilitated by the house's roof, which was comprised of highly flammable materials such as plywood, tar paper and insulation.

It was removed July 13 to prevent another flare-up.

Police believed the fire was caused by arson because of the multiple points of origin investigators found at the scene, Seastone said.

The ensuing investigation led officers to the 49 E. Adams St. residence of Ross and Eddy where they found what appeared to be the burned house's front door decorated with the fraternity's crest, Seastone said in July.

Seastone added that the door had been attached to the fraternity house when Delta Tau Delta members left the evening before the fire.

It was missing when firefighters arrived Sunday morning, he said.

Police at that time also confiscated two couches and two group photographs of Alpha Tau Omega members.

Eddy, 19, who was detained on an unrelated drug warrant after the July raid, remains an investigative lead along with Ross, Seastone said.

"We're looking at both of them," he added.

Liz Dailey can be reached via e-mail at Liz.Dailey@wildcat.arizona.edu.