SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — An investigation into a fire that gutted the home of a former escort in a largely rural Northern California county has a surprising focus: the veteran district attorney with whom the woman had an affair.
Sutter County District Attorney Carl Adams, a 65-year-old grandfather, was one of several suitors of Sarah Garibay, who showed police text messages from Adams saying he was jealous of her other lovers.
Garibay, 32, said she had a brief affair with Adams earlier this year and told investigators she had two other lovers who had recently expressed anger or jealousy toward her. Yet she said she does not believe Adams set fire to her home in Yuba City, a city of about 65,000 about 40 miles north of Sacramento.
"Someone is trying to smear him and they're using my name to do it," she told the Marysville Appeal-Democrat.
An affidavit filed in Sutter County, where Adams has been the district attorney for 31 years, said Adams lied to investigators when they first asked him about whether he had sex with Garibay, whom he met in 2010 when he was prosecuting a case in which she testified. In that case, another Garibay lover was convicted of manslaughter for killing a man after he walked in on the couple having sex.
Adams, who later admitted the affair, may also have tried to steer investigators toward one of Garibay's other boyfriends, the affidavit said. Three men were interviewed for the affidavit, which was filed to seek their phone records to determine their "involvement or innocence" in the fire.
The woman told the newspaper in an interview this week that she had a brief "inappropriate, romantic relationship" with the district attorney, but said it was "ludicrous to assume" Adams was involved in the fire and said he was the least likely suspect.
Garibay was asked in the interview if she had been a prostitute, the newspaper reported.
"Yes, I have," she responded. "Some time ago, I have been a paid escort, but that's definitely in the past."
Attempts by The Associated Press to reach Garibay have been unsuccessful.
It was Adams' behavior immediately after the July 21 fire that drew scrutiny from local law enforcement and fire officials. He showed up at the fire scene the next morning, which fire officials said he had never done before.
Later, he sent several emails to fire investigators referring to the incident as "arson," describing "pour patterns" found at the scene and referring to the fire starting in the bedroom — details no investigator remembered sharing with him. He also circumvented the normal process to seek financial victim assistance for Garibay, arousing suspicion in his own office.