Second teen connected to Madison County arson case

Authorities say more arrests could be possible

MADISON COUNTY - Another teenager from central Iowa has been arrested and charged with arson for allegedly setting an iconic Madison County bridge on fire.

Updated Story:

18-year-old Joel Davis of Norwalk was arrested Wednesday afternoon and charged with first degree arson. On Tuesday, 17-year-old Alexander Hoff of West Des Moines was also arrested an charged with arson.

The two teens are accused to setting the Cedar Bridge replica on fire on Saturday. The entire bridge was scorched and fire investigators say it cannot be fixed.

The Madison County Sheriff's Office says both Joel Davis and Alexander Hoff are friends and admitted to working together to set the Cedar Covered Bridge on fire. And while both the suspects are in custody, authorities say the investigation is far from over.
 
"Why did it happen?" asked Madison County Sheriff Jason Barnes.
 
That is the big question facing investigators, as two teenagers are now behind bars - both charged with arson. Sheriff Barnes says Davis and Hoff targeted the Cedar Bridge specifically. The landmark is now completely charred and is a total loss.
 
"I'm just frustrated by it," Sheriff Barnes said. "That's about all I can say about that. It's hard to understand what was going through somebody's mind or whatever, why they did it, it's just frustrating."
 
And what makes this more upsetting is that too teens could have done this.
 
"Did they make a bad decision? Yeah, terrible. Can they recover from this, yeah? But they dug a hole that they have to get out of now," Sheriff Barnes said.
 
All week, people have come to look at the damage. And visitors like Drew Sundberg of Kansas City, say the two young men should have known better.
 
"I am a father of six and so the first thing I think about is instilling that in my children to know that when you have a place like this that you're trying to preserve for the generations to come," Sundberg said. "You have to teach your children how important it is."
 
And while many questions still remain, Sheriff Barnes says he is ready for the next steps.
 
"[I'm] confident there will be convictions," Sheriff Barnes said. "I'll be looking forward to getting back to I guess normal as best as I can."
 
Although both Davis and Hoff are in custody, authorities say they are not ruling out the possibility of charging more people in this arson case. They say they could be making more arrests in this arson case. They are also talking to more witnesses, and are even traveling to other states to do so.

Original Story:

Joel Davis, 18, of Norwalk, was arrested a little before 3 p.m. Wednesday. He's accused of setting the Cedar Covered Bridge on fire last Saturday. West Des Moines teen Alexander Hoff is also facing a first-degree arson charge for the same crime.

It's not yet clear how the pair know each other. Social media posts have been uncovered, showing the bridge on fire.


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