Girl accused of setting huge Cocos fire to undergo mental evaluation

Teen girl suspected of starting destructive San Marcos fire is ordered to undergo mental evaluation

The teenage girl suspected of intentionally setting the Cocos fire in May that burned 2,000 acres and destroyed or damaged more than 40 structures in the San Marcos area has been ordered to undergo a mental evaluation.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Aaron Katz ordered the exam this week as the girl appeared in court. She did not enter a plea to the several arson charges pending against her.

The exam will assist the judge in determining whether the girl is competent to stand trial. Still undecided is whether she might be tried as a juvenile or an adult.

Officials have not released the girl's age or described what evidence linked her to the fire. She is under house arrest at her parents' home.

The fire raged from May 14-22. At its height, more than 500 firefighters battled the blaze, which destroyed structures in San Marcos, Escondido and at a religious retreat.

Of the dozen fires that struck the northern stretch of San Diego County in mid-May, only the Cocos fire has been called arson by investigators. The name comes from a street where the fire was initially spotted.

Of the other fires, the fire near Rancho Bernardo was determined to have been caused by a construction accident. The others remain under investigation.

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