Ex-Cal Fire battalion chief wanted for murder is arrested

ByVeronica Miracle and Rick Montanez KFSN logo
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Ex-Cal Fire battalion chief wanted for murder is arrested
The search is over. A former Cal Fire battalion chief wanted for murder was arrested in Sacramento on Friday.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Cal Fire battalion chief wanted for the murder of his escort-turned-fiancee was arrested in Sacramento on Friday.

The search for Orville "Moe" Fleming, 55, was far and wide. For more than two weeks, detectives searched through phone records, bank statements, public lands, anything that would lead to the arrest of the suspect. Little did they know he was hiding out in bushes and shrubs close to where he left his Cal Fire truck.

"Now that we have a pretty good idea about where he was, we can understand how he was able to fly below the radar," said Homicide Det. Brian Meux with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office.

Fleming was picked up Friday at noon, stepping off of a local bus. Meux says Fleming was disheveled and told detectives he didn't want to make a scene. The sheriff's office says Fleming admitted to his involvement in the death of Sarah Douglas, 26, and says during his time hiding beneath shrubs he didn't have any help or assistance from an accomplice as detectives originally thought.

"We do what we do. And we tracked him down, we pursued Mr. Fleming relentlessly. Our fugitive apprehension team literally worked around the clock," said Sheriff Scott Jones.

Despite the national media attention, the sheriff's office says Fleming was able to move about Sacramento to get food and water and go unrecognized for two weeks. But Meux says the most important aspect of this arrest is getting closure for the victim's family.

"It's one thing to have a loved one killed in this fashion, and then to have that person who potentially did that at large is another huge stressor for the family," said Meux. "So now that he is in custody, they can move on to the other things that they need to deal with."

Fleming is now in the Sacramento County Jail, where he'll stay with no bond on a murder charge.

Family relieved firefighter murder suspect in custody

The family of Orville "Moe" Fleming say they're relieved he's alive and in custody. Fleming, a former Cal Fire battalion chief, admitted to killing Sarah Douglas back on May 1, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff.

His estranged wife told Action News right now is a stressful time for her and her family. She declined an interview but said Friday she and their two adult children are just trying to put their lives back in order.

Fleming's sister-in-law says the family never saw him as anything but a great, heroic man, at least not until recently.

"They have been in shock, just like we have been in shock," Kelly Cameron said. "For 15 days wondering how could this happen, coming from a wonderful person, how could this happen."

Cameron spoke with our sister station KXTV in Sacramento. Relief, she says, is what's taking over their family now that Fleming is locked up.

"We know as a family and most personal friends know the good side to him," she said. "Obviously there's problems and somebody gets sick and something might happen to cause somebody to do something ugly in life, and that's what has happened."

Cameron says she knows Fleming got mixed up with escorts and was possibly on drugs or under extreme stress the past few years.

Her sister, Fleming's estranged wife, asked for but was denied a restraining order against the victim Sarah Douglas. There are claims Douglas was harassing and threatening Fleming's family.

Cameron says her sister believes something made Fleming snap when he stabbed Douglas to death.

"Her number one thought all along was this was never ever premeditated," Cameron said. "The ugliness of the event, the ugliness of everything that happened, had to be just spur of the moment."

Fleming's family in Clovis asked for privacy right now as they work to cope with all of the ugliness that's happened in the past few weeks.