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Seal Beach Police name suspect in cold case arson homicide

The Seal Beach Police Department has named a suspect in a cold case arson homicide.

On Saturday, April 30, 2016, at around midnight, the Seal Beach Police Department responded to a call of a residential structure fire at 211 17th Street #A, Seal Beach. When officers arrived, they discovered that the residence was completely engulfed in flames. The Orange County Fire Authority worked to quickly extinguish the fire.

Unfortunately, the male resident, identified as Mr. John Donnelly, was found deceased in the apartment. It was determined that he died as a result of the fire. Orange County Fire Authority Investigators determined that the fire had been started intentionally as an accelerant was found outside the apartment’s stairwell. Seal Beach Police Detectives and OCFA Arson Investigators worked closely to investigate this incident.

Investigators identified a suspect in this case. The individual was identified as William Pratt. Pratt was a homeless individual known to frequent Seal Beach. On August 7, 2020, Pratt was killed by another inmate while serving a prison sentence unrelated to this incident.

Based on the information developed during the investigation, and the fact that William Pratt is now deceased, the Seal Beach Police Department has closed this case.

This article was released by the Seal Beach Police Department.

1 Comment

  1. Why is there not a single photo of this suspect to be found anywhere? Even if he’s dead, release a photo if you want people to come forward with any info on this guy about possible other run ins or crimes. Most people won’t know him by his name but would recognize his face. Especially if he was a known homeless person in the Seal Beach community at the time of the arson, local citizens may recognize him and offer other valuable info if you release a photo. We have a lot of homeless people around here, especially on 1st, and some are clearly unstable and sounds like John who was well known in the community had the simple misfortune of literally crossing paths with this guy, which could have happened to any of us. I myself have had to avoid some crazies on the street just taking a walk in the day time. His victim’s photo is out there, so stop protecting this William Pratt suspect by hiding his.

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