Man arrested on arson charge from 2012

Craig Nathaniel Stafford

A Chattanooga man was booked into the Whitfield County jail on Wednesday, an arrest which was more than five years in the making.

Craig Nathaniel Stafford, 44, was charged with arson in the first degree related to a home burning down in Tunnel Hill in October 2012. Stafford was arrested Feb. 7 in Hamilton County, Tenn., and was extradited to Whitfield County on Wednesday.

Whitfield County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Paul Woods said he did not know how Stafford came into contact with Hamilton County authorities, and the booking report for Stafford posted on the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office website only lists the outstanding warrant from Whitfield County among his charges.

According to an incident report from Whitfield County, Stafford was listed as a suspect in a fire on Oct. 3, 2012, which destroyed a home at 105 E. School St. in Tunnel Hill.

Woods said Stafford was renting the home and the property owner was in the process of evicting Stafford. Whitfield County firefighters found Stafford in the home, suffering from self-inflicted stab wounds to the neck. He was airlifted to Erlanger in Chattanooga. Woods said after being released from the hospital, Stafford left the area and “evaded law enforcement.” Warrants were taken out for his arrest in December 2012.

Stafford is being held at the Whitfield County jail without bond. He is awaiting a bond hearing in Superior Court.

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