Missouri Man Arrested for Setting Wife, House on Fire Was 'Ready to Give Up'

A Missouri man who set his wife on fire and evaded capture for more than 24 hours was arrested Tuesday night and charged with first degree assault, armed criminal action and arson, according to the local sheriffs office.

Willard Hunt, of Higbee was found at approximately 8:30 p.m., wandering the railroad tracks behind a residential community.

"Hunt dropped to his knees and said he was ready to give up," Sheriff Mark Nichols told ABC News.

On Monday afternoon, the Randolph County Sheriff's Office received an emergency call reporting an ongoing fire at Hunt's house and that a woman was injured.

A deputy found Hunt's wife, Connie Hunt, sitting in front of the home with severe burns.

"She told the deputy that her husband threw gasoline on her, set her on fire and then set the house on fire," said Nichols.

Hunt had already fled the scene.

Connie Hunt was flown to University Hospital in neighboring Boone County.

"She is in critical condition, but she is doing better than when she first got there," Nichols said.

A spokesman for University Hospital told ABC News that the hospital could not release any information about Hunt's wife.

A search of the burned home did not give police any solid leads.

"After we didn't find the suspect's remains in the house, we believed he was still at large. We did an extensive search of the local area with highway patrol, air support and on-foot officers," Nichols said.

"We are a tight-knit community of only 650 people. Anybody that saw something suspicious sent us tips," Nichols said.

"A resident called us at approximately 8:30 last night. He said he saw an individual walking on railroad tracks behind his house."

Hunt is in police custody, and is being held on a $200,000 cash-only bond. He does not yet have a lawyer but will be appointed a public defender, said Nichols.

According to Nichols, the Hunts were not active in their community. "They never really participated in town events. They have kept to themselves," he said.

Nichols told ABC News that police did not have a motive for the arson, but the investigation is ongoing.

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