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  • Writer's pictureDennis McCaslin

Burning Questions: They didn't start the fire...but somebody did...

Who was the mysterious Jon Hughes Allen?

The now deceased former pastor left a trail of “burning” questions (literally) across the United States – through the Grand Canyon, through Orange County California, and finally, all the way to Winslow, Arkansas.

The best way to tell this story is to tell it backwards, beginning with his arrest, at age 72, for one count of arson.

Allen was accused of burning down his own home in Winslow.

On June 23, 2016, firefighters arrived at Allen’s home at roughly 4:26 p.m. after an automatic fire alarm went off. According, to an affidavit the alarm went off at 4:10 p.m.

Heavy black smoke was rolling out of the house and flames were showing, according to the affidavit.

Oddly, when officials arrived, Allen was outside dressed in a white jumpsuit. He said he saved items, including his daughter's wedding dress. A large number of items were neatly stacked and folded about 40 yards from the fire, according to the report. Allen's clothes, hands and face showed no sign of soot, according to the affidavit.

Allen said he believed that gasoline had been poured on the west wall of the garage, according to the affidavit. Ironically, an insurance investigator later found evidence of an accelerant.

According to the affidavit, Allen told police he didn't want them to search his property or do an origin and cause report.

In June 2017, according to court records, the charges against Allen were dropped due to insufficient evidence. Allen was able to collect the $100,000 insurance policy on his home, along with $15,078 raised by his daughter, Rachel Allen Cobb through a fundraiser.

That fundraiser can be found here:

His daughter, seemed to be unfazed by the allegations against her father, went as far as to write this on the GoFundMe page: “I'm also still praying for a miracle- that the crooked detective will not be able to do this to another family.”

You might find it interesting to note that Rachel Allen Cobb’s own house burned down in Oklahoma in 2012. More about that fire can be found here:

You can also learn more about Rachel Allen Cobb, her experience with a house fire on her blog entitled “Joy from the Ashes” :

Interesting, huh?

House fires seem to run in the Allen family.

After doing a little digging, it seems that perhaps it’s not out of the question that Rachel Allen Cobb would be unfazed by her the allegations against her father.

According to FOIA records, Cobb, along with her other family members were under fire back in the early 2000’s for an incident involving their church-owned daycare, Alpha Christian Preschool.

(Side note: Jon Allen was the Pastor of Lake Hills Church that founded Alpha Christian Preschool. Leaders of Lake Hills Church included a hodge-podge of interesting characters: One man was charged with theft by receiving in the late 1990’s and then faced accusations of child molestation in the mid-2000’s.

Another was accused of having sex with an underage girl. Two other men in leadership at Lake Hills Church admitted to but were never charged with pornography-related addictions and crimes.)

According to FOIA documents, Cobb, her mother (Diane Saucier Allen) and her father, (Jon Hughes Allen) were questioned after a complaint was filed regarding a young child being locked in a dark room as a means for punishing bad behavior.

Today in Fort Smith is awaiting an FOIA request from the Arkansas Department of Human Services regarding the Alpha Christian Preschool “dark room” incident.

The Allen family legacy of “bad” luck and “bad” connections doesn’t stop here… what if we told you that the Allen family also has close ties to a man in Northwest Arkansas who has been charged with Medicaid fraud.

Tune in next week to find out more abut the past of Jon Allen and Rachel Allen Cobb....

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