When a victim’s relative asked questions, an investigation led to a suspect in her family member’s death

KENS 5 obtained an arrest affidavit that showed a February house fire may have been intentionally set by a neighbor.

SAN ANTONIO — A man was arrested and charged with arson after a man died in a house fire on the west side of San Antonio last month.

In the early morning hours of February 27, fire officials say a fire started in the 800 block of Northwest 20th Street near West Martin Street. The body of Richard Amesquita was found inside the home once the fire was out.

Thursday, KENS 5 obtained an arrest affidavit that showed the fire may have been intentionally set by a neighbor. Baltazar Castaneda, who police say lives near the victim, is charged with arson.

Initially, investigators believed the victim was a heavy smoker but a relative insisted that was not the case. This week, investigators were able to obtain surveillance video from an elementary school across the street.

The affidavit says surveillance video shows Castaneda acting strangely and pacing back and forth in front of the victim’s house in an “aggressive gait” in the hours before the fire. The surveillance video reportedly shows Castaneda walking up to the victim’s front door with what appeared to be a lighter. Minutes later, the house is seen on the video fully engulfed in flames.

Body-worn camera from one of the first responders also reportedly showed the suspect leaving the neighborhood in a pickup truck once fire crews arrived to respond to the fire.

Castaneda’s father told KENS 5 he believed his son was asleep during the time investigators said the fire was started. The father said he was friends with the victim.

“I went towards the window because he was my friend, and I go, Richard, can I help you? Can I save you?,” The suspect’s father said.


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