Key Evidence Helped Cracked the Case of Church Fires in West Alabama

Investigators had a key piece of evidence that helped them crack the case.

It was tire tracks they found at the scene.

Investigators said all along someone would probably have to come forward before they could break the case.

Little did they know it would turn out to be a suspect's parents.

The biggest break came Tuesday after agents with the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms  visited with suspect Matthew Lee Cloyd's parents.

After that interview, the Cloyds asked their son about the church fires.

The charging document says Cloyd told his parents he didn't have anything to do with the fires but knew who did them.

But Cloyd fit the profile investigators worked with all along.

It turned out Cloyd was telling the truth and lying at the same time.

When investigators talked with Cloyd himself a day later, he admitted he, Ben Mosley and Russel Debusk had started the first five fires in Bibb County.

Cloyd even admitted to kicking in two church doors himself.

When investigators got to Ben Mosley, he admitted total involvment and explained how he and Russel Debusk set the first five fires with Cloyd.

He also told officers the four west Alabama arsons were supposed to create a deception.

The motive was humor.  Both boys say it started as a joke and then spiraled out of control.

Forensic evidence came into play tool.   Last summer, Matt Cloyd's mom bought four new tires for his dark green toyota suv.  The tracks from five fires match those B.F. Goodrich tires.

In Tuscaloosa  Governor Bob Riley congratulated the law officers Wednesday who've been working the case 24 hours, 7 days a week.

He says it's "a good day for Alabama" and that our state and religious groups "can rest a little easier" now that the suspects are behind bars.