Man Accused of Lighting Girlfriend on Fire Found Dead in Jail

Vidal Webb was suspected of setting a fire that injured his girlfriend in Poway

A man arrested on suspicion of setting his girlfriend on fire was found dead in a Southern California jail Tuesday, San Diego County Sheriff's officials confirmed.

Vidal Webb, 41, jumped from the second tier of jail cells onto the day room floor, according to the sheriff's department. Jail medical staff tried to save him, but Webb was pronounced dead at 10:21 a.m.

Investigators say Webb may have started a fire inside a Poway home early Sunday morning. Those inside told deputies a woman was on fire, so they tried to save her by dumping water on her.

The woman, Webb's girlfriend, was taken to the UCSD Medical Center's burn center, where she is in critical condition.

Webb and the woman, who had known each other for 25 years, had been having a dayslong argument before the fire started, according to detectives.

Webb was not at the Poway home when deputies arrived to investigate, so a manhunt for the suspect ensued. An anonymous tip led them to a City Heights residence.

There, they found Webb, who refused to come out for nine hours -- three of which were spent negotiating with deputies. Finally, at about midnight, he emerged with his hands up.

He was booked into jail on suspicion of arson causing great bodily injury and attempted murder.

The exact cause and manner of his death will be released by the medical examiner's office at a later time.

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