Man Who Vanished After Home Burned Charged With Arson, Insurance Fraud

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A man who vanished after his home burned in 2011 and then returned about a month later has been indicted on a number of charges in connection with the fire and his disappearance.

According to the Fairfield County Clerk of Courts, Mark A. Johnson is charged with inducing panic, insurance fraud and two counts of felony arson.

Johnson’s house, located on Eckert Road in Lancaster, burned down on Nov. 28, 2011.

Community members organized a vigil for Johnson’s safe return, and dozens of investigators searched the area around Johnson’s home.

Fire officials found no human remains inside of the charred home, but they did find the remains of a goat.  Johnson’s vehicles also were left at the home after the house burned.

According to a letter from Johnson’s attorney in 2011, Johnson went to Florida that same day without telling anyone.

At that time, Johnson said he was dealing with personal issues and was unable to make comment about the situation, according to a statement given to 10TV News in December 2011.

"I want to thank my friends and the entire community for your outpouring of prayers, concern and support," Johnson said. "No one can even begin to imagine how I am feeling right now, but I want everyone to know that I am doing alright and that I am safe. I am going through some personal matters that I cannot discuss further at this time.

Johnson was issued a summons and appeared at the courthouse at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday. He was out of jail on $25,000 bond.

Johnson is due back in court on Feb. 28.

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Previous Stories:
December 23, 2011: Man Who Vanished After Fire Returns Home
December 19, 2011: Community Steadfast In Search For Missing Man
December 2, 2011: Search Ends For Missing Fairfield Co. Man, No Future Searches Planned
November 29, 2011: Homeowner Missing, Goat Remains Found After Lancaster House Fire