Mother of child killed in Kent St. apartment fire arrested, charged

Posted: September 6, 2013

WINCHESTER - The mother of a 2-year-old boy who died in a city apartment fire in June was arrested and charged this afternoon with four counts of felony child neglect related to the blaze.

Sherry Cruz, 34, now of Remington, is being taken to the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center, according to Lauren Cummings, spokeswoman for the Winchester Police Department.
 
She was arrested around around 6 p.m. in Fauquier County.
 
Cummings said the case remains under investigation, and that other charges may be brought.
 
Christian Cruz was pulled June 18 from his family’s burning apartment at 300-302 N. Kent St. He was later pronounced dead at Winchester Medical Center.
 
Cruz’s four other children – a 4-week-old girl, 3-year-old twins boys and Christian’s twin sister – were also home during the fire. It is unclear where they are now residing.
 
The police department and city fire marshal’s office have been investigating the case and most recently called in the Northern Virginia Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Task Force to help.
 
City Fire Marshal Jeremy Luttrell said during a June 21 press conference that investigators were trying to determine the origin and cause of the blaze and the cause of Christian’s death. All have yet to be released.
 
He added that during an initial search of the apartment, investigators “detected a strong odor consistent with that of flammable liquid in the living room of the house.” That liquid also has yet to be identified.
 
Two search warrants were also filed in the case in June. The first was for a search of the burned apartment, and the second for a trash container at WMC.
 
The purpose of the second search, Luttrell said at the time, was to recover the clothing worn by Cruz — the only adult in the apartment when the fire began.
 
Nothing was found as a result of the second warrant.
 
According to the first warrant, evidence taken from the apartment included samples of burn debris from a carpet, cloth material, wood flooring, a red gas can and a burnt plastic bottle from the living room and burn debris from the kitchen area.
 
Police also confiscated a notebook with documentation from the home.
 
For more information about the arrest, read Saturday’s Winchester Star.