Alexander County arson suspect, accused of killing 3, now charged with child rape

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Areli Avilez was arrested in connection to the deaths of three people found inside a suspected arson house fire in Alexander County on Sunday. (Alexander County Sheriff)

The man accused in a case of arson in Alexander County that left a mother and her two children dead has now been charged with the rape of a child. 

On June 25, the Sheriff's Office says indictments were handed down for Areli Aguirre-Avilez for three counts of first degree murder, one count of statutory rape of a child 15 years of age or younger, one count of arson and one count of violation of a domestic violence order with a deadly weapon.

Aguirre-Avilez is accused of going to his ex-wife's home on Pine Meadows Lane around 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 15 and setting it on fire while the family of three was inside. His alleged 16-year-old girlfriend, Heidi Darlene Wolfe, is also charged in the crime.

RELATED: 2nd arrest made in deadly arson, PD combing Catawba River for 3rd body

The bodies of 12-year-old America Pacheco and 11-year-old Angel Pacheco were found after the fire was put out, though deputies say they were barely recognizable. 

It's believed that Aguirre-Avilez then dumped the body of children's mother, Maria Calderon, in the Catawba River over the weekend. 

Wolfe was also charged with three counts of first degree murder and one count of first degree arson.