Case 280

The Stockton Arsonist

*** Content warnings: Animal cruelty ***

On a hot summer’s day in 1989, a father and son travelling through Stockton, California, discover a VHS tape left by the side of a road. When they take it home and decide to watch it, they make a disturbing discovery. The tape contains footage of a house burning to the ground and was apparently filmed by the arsonist who lit the fire.

When investigators looking into the tape hit a series of dead ends, they enlist the help of popular television series Unsolved Mysteries, and the case becomes known as that of the infamous Stockton Arsonist.



Casefile Presents



Research & writing – Erin Munro

Creative direction – Milly Raso

Narration – Anonymous Host



‘Flatline intro’ and ‘Come play with me’ intro and outro –

Audio production – Mike Migas 

Scoring – Mike Migas and Andrew Joslyn



Logo and website design – Paulina Szymanska



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Arsonist transforms anti-growth view into fiery message on SF peninsula – The Sacramento Bee

Suspected arsonist leaves video clues in house fire – The Danville News

Hunt narrows for site of videotaped arson fire – The Sacramento Bee



Video tape believed to reveal satanic arson fire – UPI

The Redwood City Arsonist

Stockton Arsonist

California in Brief: Teens arrested in videotaped blaze – Los Angeles Times

Suspected videotape arsonists arrested – UPI



Unsolved Mysteries – season 3, episode 1

Stockton Arsonist Tape

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