Police: Autistic teen killed in intentionally-set house fire


ST. LOUIS, MO (KMOV/CNN/WBTW) – An Missouri teen with Austim has died from injuries from a house fire and authorities say the fire was intentionally set by a man who lived in the home.

A view on Florissant’s Curtis court — providing a backdrop — so telling. Yellow tape — where police are investigating an arson — and a cross where a group of friends stand to show love for Dustin Baggett.


“It just feels wrong. It feels like, it doesn’t feel real,” said Nicole Graham, the victim’s classmate.

Graham — a sophomore at Hazlewood West — has known the 15-year-old for years.

“He was always bringing out the best in us. No matter where he went, he always had a happy face on him,” Graham said.


Firefighters pulled the boy — who lived with autism — from a fire in his home Friday morning.

Police accuse another person — who also lived in the home — of setting it.

“It honestly didn’t surprise me. Neighbors have been concerned about the way these children have been treated in this house. Neighbors have been calling for help over the years for the way the children in this house have been treated.”

Christina Benjamin — along with dozens — gathered outside him home to remember the teenager.

“We all, kind of, took him in knowing he needed our love,” said Nicole Bray, a friend of the victim.

Bray lived on the same street as Baggett for more than 40 years.

“I am happy, now, he is able to not suffer anymore. And I love the fact he was able to bring the community together in less than two hours,” bray also said.

So– all could show their love for him remains in their hearts.

“i really want the community to bickering and arguing. Come together! It takes a village even if it is not a child,” bray also said.

Bobby Copass is charged with first-degree arson.

Authorities say he set the fire in the basement.

With the victim’s death, police say they will seek upgraded charges.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money for funeral expenses.


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