(Melrose, MN) Learfield Wire Services/TTWN Media Networks -- A teenager has been charged in connection with a fire that occurred at a historic Catholic church in the Stearns County city of Melrose in March 2016.

The teenager suspected of setting fire to the church confessed to the crime in early June, ending more than two years of investigations into the 2016 fire that destroyed the church as well as a German-made wood altar that was installed there in 1899. The Stearns County Sheriff’s Office says the investigation into the fire at 118-year-old St. Mary’s Catholic Church was determined to be arson shortly after the March 11th, 2016 fire.

Investigators say numerous people were re-interviewed and potential evidence re-examined before narrowing in on a suspect who was 13 years old at the time of the fire. The now 15-year-old has been charged with first-degree arson. The fire resulted in several million dollars in damages to the church.


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