Two men accused suspected of being involved in an arson and homicide in Newton County were taken into custody Sunday night. Sixty-nine year old Charles Stepp and 34-year-old Steven Stepp, both of the Fallsville area, were apprehended without incident at a residence in Clarksville.
Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler says the Deer and Ozone fire departments were called to the scene of a house fire west of Fallsville Saturday afternoon at around 3:35. While fighting the fire, personnel located a male body inside the residence, believed to be the homeowner. Evidence at the scene and other information reportedly confirmed a homicide and arson had occurred.
Sheriff Wheeler says investigators began looking for Charles and Steven Stepp as suspects, and information led them to the Clarksville residence where both men were believed to be hiding. Surveillance was put in place Sunday evening at 7, and the suspects were caught attempting to sneak out the back.
Steven Stepp is formally being charged with first-degree murder, arson and aggravated robbery, and other charges may be pending. Charles Stepp will be interviewed to determine if charges will be filed against him. The name of the victim has not been released since a positive identification has not yet been made.
Sheriff Wheeler also states authorities are concerned for the welfare of two children who may have been at the residence at the time of the incident. He says both juveniles, possibly in the company of Josh and Veronica Kee, have not been located, but investigators are actively following leads.
The Newton County Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigation and being assisted by the Arkansas State Police, the 14th Judicial District Drug Task Force, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office, the Clarksville Police Department and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.