Suspect to face arson, murder charges in Rochester fire that killed 8-year-old in 2004

Suspect in cold-case arson-murder behind bars tonight

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Nearly 20 years after a young girl perished in a house fire, the man who’s believed to have set it is behind bars.

Timothy Kuhn made an initial appearance in a Florida courtroom Friday, and sits in the Holmes County, Florida, jail. He was arrested Thursday and will be charged with arson and murder in the 2004 death of Savannah Streber.

Kuhn was picked up at his home in Prosperity in Holmes County, in the Florida Panhandle, at around 5:30 a.m.,by detectives of the Rochester Police Department, Holmes County sheriff’s deputies, and members of the U.S. Marshal’s Caribbean Task Force in Florida. He was taken into custody without incident.

MORE: Inside the Evidence: 8-year-old killed in arson

Kuhn will be extradited to New York.

Tim Kuhn (Provided photo)

Savannah Streber was just 8 when she died in a house fire on Yates Street in Rochester on Feb. 28, 2004, At the time, investigators said it was arson.

Now, police have made an arrest in this cold case.

Savannah’s family has tried to keep Savannah’s case in the public eye, speaking to journalists over the years and even appearing on NBC’s “Dateline.”

On the night of the fire, Savannah was inside asleep when, police investigators say, someone threw a Molotov cocktail into the house. Her younger sister Alex, a babysitter and the babysitter’s son were also inside and managed to escape the inferno. Savannah was found dead in her mother’s bed.

News10NBC reached her mother, Lisa Routier, by phone Friday night. She did not want to comment at this time.

But this is what she said in 2019 about finding the person responsible: “It’s gonna, just gonna help — nothing is going to help what happened. It’s just going to make us feel a little better. All we want is closure.”

In 2019, police told News10NBC they had a person they had been looking at since 2004, but wouldn’t name that person of interest. Whether that was Timothy Kuhn, we don’t yet know.

When arrested Thursday, police say, Kuhn appeared surprised but did not provide any statements.

Broadcast at 6 p.m. Dec. 29:

Man arrested in 2004 arson, murder case

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