Law enforcement capture husband who allegedly set wife and house on fire

Willard Hunt suspected of dousing wife and home with gas then lighting them on fire

HIGBEE, Mo. - The Randolph County Sheriff's Department confirmed to ABC 17 News they have Willard Hunt in custody Tuesday night.

Hunt is accused of dousing his wife and house with gasoline, then setting both on fire Monday afternoon.

Around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, a resident on Highway B west of Higbee saw a man walking along railroad tracks.

The man told the resident he was Willard Hunt and the resident called law enforcement. Authorities arrived shortly thereafter. Despite earlier scanner traffic reports, the resident did not hold Hunt at gunpoint.

Hunt was taken into custody without incident.

The Randolph County prosecutor charged Hunt with first-degree arson with a cash-only bond set at $200,000.

Prosecutor Mike Fusselman told ABC 17 News he also plans to file first-degree assault and armed criminal action charges against Hunt.

The victim, Connie Hunt, had gasoline thrown on her face then was set on fire around 4 p.m. Monday.

The house at 301 S. Randolph Street in Higbee was engulfed in flames when emergency crews responded to the scene.

She was transported by helicopter to University Hospital. As of Monday evening, she was listed in critical condition. The hospital is no longer making her condition available Tuesday.

Randolph County investigators say she has burns to 40 percent of her body, including her face, arms and torso.

Family members say Hunt's hospital room is heavily guarded but she is in stable condition.

On Tuesday, the fire marshal surveyed the house and cleared the scene. Authorities thought he may have been inside the home when it burned down, but no remains were found.

The suspect, identified by sources as Willard "Willie" Hunt, is described as being 6'5" tall, 160 pounds with a mustache and was last seen wearing a dark blue t-shirt.

Stay with ABC 17 News and for the latest on this developing story.

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