Child targeted in fire

Suspect arrested, charged with arson, attempted murder

Chico police have arrested an Orangevale man, William James Brainard, in a February house fire that they’ve deemed both arson and attempted murder.

When the Chico Fire Department responded to the fire, at a residence on Losse Way in Chico, they found an incendiary device, indicating it had been intentionally set. It had been started directly underneath the window of the resident’s 4-year-old son.

In the subsequent months, detectives learned that the resident (unnamed) had recently gained full custody in a heated battle with the child’s mother. Brainard, they believe, may have targeted the child as retaliation for a failed relationship with the mother. He’s been charged with arson and attempted murder and is scheduled to be arraigned May 27.