Suspect accused of setting fire that killed Phoenix woman taken into custody

The arson suspect believed to be responsible for the death of 86-year-old Elizabeth Bell has been taken into custody.

59-year-old Wayne Everett Tweed was found just a block north of Elizabeth's Phoenix home that burned during the afternoon hours on Nov. 9.

For roughly three hours, police told Tweed and others to come out with their hands up.

59-year-old Wayne Everett Tweed

A police helicopter was circling the area and a drone was hovering over the RVs.

Several officers had their rifles drawn at two RVs near 39th Avenue and Rose Garden.

Police say another woman was arrested for felony warrants unrelated to Thursday's deadly house fire.

Investigators say there was a second person inside the home at the time of the fire on 38th Drive and Irma Lane. That person was transported to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, and they told police Tweed started the fire, which spread throughout the entire home.

There were six different calls made to police in 2023 regarding Elizabeth Bell's home. Five of those calls included Bell. Police say none were welfare check calls. Sgt. Brian Bowers says one of the calls was a vulnerable adult call.

Police say Tweed complied with officers once he was detained.

"Officers were working with him, trying to call him out. It was a portion of time when he was confined to the residence. SWAT team members and other detectives were called to that location to get him out and take him into custody," said Bowers.

Police say Tweed will be charged with second degree murder.

Area residents speak out

As police continue to investigate the fire, some living in the area are concerned, as they believe the woman's death is suspicious.

"This neighborhood used to be peaceful and quiet, and there weren't really any problems," said Jesse Tackett. "We had a nurse come to the house today who witnessed all of it starting, and she could hear her screaming inside the house. She was on the phone with 911 when she got here."

Some of the neighbors said they would check on the woman because she lived alone, but that eventually stopped as squatters started living with the woman, and others began to see suspicious behavior.

Elizabeth Bell and Wayne Tweed

Elizabeth Bell and Wayne Tweed

"These two men initially, they just started squatting there. They eventually brought cars over and many other things. A motor home was there in the front yard, and now its in the backyard," said Cynthia Donato. "The people there would frequently start fires in the backyard to burn whatever material it was."

Neighbors said they would call police after seeing suspicious activity at the home, and when the woman would ask for help. Police officials said they received a call for welfare checks on Sept. 20 and 29.

"These people, she did not know. She specifically told me that people were trying to take over her home," said Donato. "Those two men were there, and I asked her if she was OK, but she looked very medicated, and in my opinion, I don't think she was lucid, and I believe she was under their control."

With the woman's death, neighbors want to know how the fire started.

"I just hope whoever is responsible for this, that they will be brought to justice," said Donato.

"This is not the first fire that's happened around here," said Tackett. "This is probably not even going to be the last, unless they take care of the groups that keep bouncing around the street."

Where the fire happened