Austin man escaped psychiatric ward, set house fire, police say


A man is being charged with arson after he escaped a mental health facility and set his family’s home on fire, according to an arrest affidavit.

On Thursday evening the Austin Fire Department responded to a call about a fire at a home near the 5000 block of Sunset Trail. Firefighters put out the fire, which was contained to a bedroom, and determined it was intentionally set, the affidavit says.

Edward Avalos, 28, was at the home when police arrived, and told them he had escaped from the Next Step mental health facility, where he had stayed for about three weeks, the affidavit says. Avalos told police he got angry at his mother because she was upset when he arrived at the house, and at his brother, who was staying in his room, the document says.

Avalos set his brother’s bed on fire and broke things in the house before the fire crew arrived, the affidavit says.

Police said they heard crashing sounds coming from inside the home when they arrived and found Avalos inside the home with a shovel, according to the affidavit.

It is still unclear how Avalos left the mental health facility, which did not respond to a request for comment from the Statesman on Saturday.

Avalos is currently at Travis County jail with a bond set to $30,000 as of Saturday.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

JUST IN: SWAT team at Pflugerville home Saturday for ‘barricaded subject’
JUST IN: SWAT team at Pflugerville home Saturday for ‘barricaded subject’

A SWAT team has been called to a home in Pflugerville on Saturday morning after receiving reports of a barricaded person inside, Austin police said.  Authorities said U.S. Marshals are at the home, and the person is refusing to come out. Media reports say the home is in the 14500 block of Harris Ridge Boulevard.  Police did not have further...
NYC postal worker arrested after police find 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail
NYC postal worker arrested after police find 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail

A New York City postal worker was arrested Thursday after 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail were found in his car, apartment and locker, authorities said. Aleksey Germash, who has worked for the U.S. Postal Service for more than 16 years, possessed undelivered mail since 2005, WPIX reported. He told investigators he held onto the mail because...
Trump rips New York Times reporter, defends Cohen
Trump rips New York Times reporter, defends Cohen

President Donald Trump came out swinging on Twitter Saturday morning, firing off three tweets attacking The New York Times and reporter Maggie Haberman. A story published Friday in the Times -- written by Haberman, Sharon LaFraniere and Danny Hakim -- suggested that Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen might cooperate with federal...
FORECAST: Showers possible Saturday in Austin, some storms could be severe
FORECAST: Showers possible Saturday in Austin, some storms could be severe

Showers are possible Saturday in Austin and some storms in Central Texas could become severe, producing hail and damaging winds, the National Weather Service said. Meteorologists put rain chances in Austin at 40 percent Saturday in the day and 20 percent at night. Forecasters say some storms stretching from east of Llano to Hallettsville could...
Queen Elizabeth turns 92: 5 fun facts
Queen Elizabeth turns 92: 5 fun facts

Queen Elizabeth II turned 92 on Saturday, and after 65 years on the throne, she holds the distinction of ruling longer than any monarch in the United Kingdom’s history.  The queen actually celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday, which is April 21; and one in June when she hosts a parade -- weather permitting -- called &ldquo...
More Stories