Woman already on probation tried setting ex-boyfriend, home on fire, Flagler deputies say

Melanie Botts, 39, was on probation for a previous battery charge

Melanie Botts, 39 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A woman who was already on probation was arrested, accused of trying to set her ex-boyfriend and his home on fire.

Melanie Botts, 39, was arrested Monday. She faces charges of domestic battery, arson, criminal mischief, drug possession and violation of probation.

Investigators said they were called to a home on Beth Lane in Palm Coast. Deputies said they could smell gasoline as they arrived and spotted a gas can on fire in front lawn of the home.

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The victim told deputies Botts showed up at his home in the morning as he was getting ready to leave his home, records show. The two got into an argument and Botts, according to deputies, went to the garage to retrieve the gas can.

Investigators said the woman spread gasoline around the home and attempted to pour some on the victim before lighting the gas can on fire inside the home. Deputies said the victim was able to remove the gas can from the home and was not hurt.

Deputies said they tried to make contact with Botts, but the woman ended up contacting them on an unrelated case.

Botts was arrested and deputies said they found prescription medication in her pocket as she was being arrested. In body camera video of the arrest, Botts can be heard saying, “That’s not mine,” in reference to some of the medication found in her pockets.

See the body camera video of Botts’ arrest in the media player below:

News 6 reporter Molly Reed spoke to the victim who didn’t want to be identified.

“We weren’t together but she’s been threatening me and that particular day I was on my way to pick up my son,” he said.

The victim said Botts showed up as he was leaving on Monday and they got in an argument.

He said she grabbed a gasoline canister from his garage, then grabbed him and poured the gas on him before moving onto the house.

“I watched her burn the front of my house down with the gas and then when she went in the house my heart melted,” he said.

He said he called 911 immediately. He said while waiting for help, he managed to get inside and was able to put out a fire she had set in the kitchen and then she took off.

“I’m watching my front porch burn. I got emotional,” he said.

Body camera video showed deputies showing up and a small fire still going outside. Deputies say thirty minutes later, Botts called them from her place about a different case.

“Deputies went there. She thought we were there on the case she was calling about and they instead arrested her,” Sheriff Rick Staly said.

Staly said Botts also had Adderall and opioid wrappers on her.

She now faces several charges including domestic battery, arson, drug possession, and violating probation, which she was on for felonious battery.

The victim said it wasn’t the first he had to get help when Botts became violent towards him.

“Why did we have to wait to where it got this far? It should have been resolved sooner,” he said.

The sheriff said it wasn’t their first run-in with her either.

“We’ve had some encounters with her in the past. She clearly has an anger management issue,” Staly said.

Botts was already on probation for a previous felony battery charge. She is now being held in the Flagler County jail on a $61,000 bond.

Victims of domestic violence can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, available 24 hours a day, at 800-799-7233. In Central Florida, the Harbor House offers a 24-hour confidential crisis hotline at 407-886-2856.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.