Court documents: Mother started fatal apartment fire on Kent St.

Posted: September 9, 2013

WINCHESTER - Sherry Cruz started the apartment fire that killed her 2-year-old son on June 18, according to new court documents.

The 34-year-old, now of Remington, appeared via video this afternoon in Winchester Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, where she was denied bond.
She was arrested in Fauquier County on Friday on four charges of felony child abuse stemming from the fatal fire.
Cruz is being held at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.
The case remains under investigation, and other charges may be placed, according to Lauren Cummings, spokeswoman for the Winchester Police Department.
Christian Cruz was pulled from his family’s burning apartment at 300-302 N. Kent St. on June 18 and later pronounced dead at Winchester Medical Center.
According to the criminal complaint filed with the child abuse charges, Cruz died as a result of the fire.
Sherry Cruz’s four other children — a 3-week-old girl, 3-year-old twin boys and Christian’s twin sister — were also at home during the fire.
The children are currently in the care of Cruz’s mother, and as part of Cruz’s bond conditions, she is prohibited from having contact with them.
The police department and city fire marshal’s office have been investigating the blaze and most recently enlisted the help of the Northern Virginia Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Task Force.
According to the criminal complaint, the fire originated in the living room area of the apartment and was ignited with gasoline.
The complaint also states that Cruz has given inconsistent stories as to what occurred when the fire started and that she admitted to purchasing one gallon of gasoline and a gas can the morning of the blaze.
“The accused was the only adult inside the residence when the fire originated and her actions of starting the fire placed all the children inside the residence in danger,” the complaint states.
A preliminary hearing on the child abuse charges is set for 10 a.m. Oct. 16 in Winchester Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.
The charges are Class 6 felonies, punishable by one to five years in prison, or up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of not more than $2,500.
Cruz’s criminal history, according to online court records, includes charges of forgery, uttering and obtaining money by false pretenses.

For more information about the blaze and Cruz's bond hearing, read Tuesday's Winchester Star.