Man accused of dousing woman in gasoline and threatening to light her on fire was US Forestry Service employee

Southern Utah

RICHFIELD, Utah (ABC4 News) – A man arrested in Iron County after authorities in California issued an arrest warrant for the attempted murder of an Idyllwild woman was and employee with the US Forestry Service living in Utah.

Documents state deputies with the Iron County Sheriff’s Office were asked by a detective with the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office to arrest Joshua Swarthout who was living on Forestry Service grounds in Richfield after they had obtained a warrant for his arrest.

The deputies arrived at the location and were able to take Swarthout into custody.

Related Article: Fugitive wanted for attempted murder out of Southern California arrested in Cedar City.

On Tuesday, details of the California attempted murder case were released through a search warrant.

Deputies in Idyllwild said they were called to a home around 2:40 a.m. on August 17 by a woman who said a man kicked down her door while she was sleeping and poured kerosene on her face, body, and bed.

The woman said the man then told her he was going to set her on fire. While this was happening, the woman’s two children, ages 7 and 8 years old, were in a bunkbed right next to her and had woken up and were screaming in fear, documents state.

The woman told police she struggled with him, forcing him to the doorway as the man who lived upstairs, came down to help. The man said the suspect then attacked him, knocked him to the ground, then picked him up and threw him against a rock wall, documents state.

The woman told police she was certain the suspect was Swarthout because she has known him for 10 years as well as the children and her, both told deputies they knew it was his voice.

The suspect was wearing a black mask with a skeleton print, a black hoodie, black pants, thick, black gloves, and a fireman’s turnout coat.

The woman suffered irritation on her eyes and multiple areas on her skin along with swelling and redness around the top of her right eye. The man involved had a laceration on his head from hitting the wall, documents state.

A background check in Utah shows two protective orders for two different individuals filed against Swarthout since July 2019.

Swarthout has since been extradited back to California to face charges.

A call to the US Forestry Service has not been returned.

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