The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department says that a 48-year-old Rocky Top woman was arrested Monday in connection to a fire on Offutt Road in June, and that she is also a suspect in two more fires that occurred at the same location on Monday.
48-year-old Sharon Lee Braden was arrested on three counts of aggravated assault and one count each of aggravated arson and reckless endangerment following an investigation led by ACSD Detective Sean Flynn. During his investigation, Flynn developed information leading him to seek the arrest warrants against Braden, including statements from an eyewitness to the June fire. That witness told Flynn he had seen Braden set Randy Cox, Sr.’s home on fire and when he confronted her, she ran off. Cox and the two children who were inside the home at the time of the fire were able to make it out safely.
The witness also told Det. Flynn that a few days after the fire, Braden had approached him at a store in Rocky Top and said that he “should have let Cox burn in the fire.” When the witness pointed out to her that there were children inside the home when she set the fire, she allegedly replied by saying that “they aren’t no kin to me.”
The Sheriff’s Department, as we mentioned, is also investigating two fires that occurred Monday morning at the same house as acts of arson and say that Braden is a suspect in those as well.
The first occurred shortly after 4 am, Deputy Dustin Hensley was called to Cox’s home after the man woke up to find that his Cadillac STS was on fire and immediately called 911. Cox said he suspected who might have done it, but said that he cannot prove it. The Medford Volunteer Fire Department extinguished the fire and the investigation was turned over to arson investigators.
Half an hour after the scene of the car fire was cleared, Deputy Tyler Culver was called to the Offutt Road home in response to an RV fire on the property. This time, Cox told deputies he believed that Braden was responsible, and indicated that she had been seen walking on Offutt Road shortly after the camper caught fire.
Cox told deputies that he and Braden, his ex-girlfriend, had lived together for about four years until June of this year, when he says he kicked her out after coming to find her “shooting up.” He said that since that time, she had continued to harass him and set fires.
Braden was located by deputies at a home on New Clear Branch, and taken into custody for questioning, during which time investigators arrested her on the charges stemming from the June incident.
In a press release, Sheriff Russell Barker praised the work by Detective Flynn, saying, “Detective Flynn did a great job on this case. His hard work resulted in removing a very dangerous person off our streets.”
At last check, she remained in custody on bonds totaling $260,000 at the Anderson County Jail.