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Man charged with arson of missing woman's home

Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Anne Gay

Anne Gay (WLS Photo)

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A man who shared a home with a Joliet woman missing for four months has been arrested in connection with the burning of their house.

The Will County Sheriff's Office has announced the arrest of James J. Borg, who lived with Anne Gay at 135 SE Circle Drive in unincorporated Joliet Township. Borg was taken into custody by sheriff's detectives at 11 a.m. Monday as he left the Rehab Center of Chicago in Streeterville.

On October 18, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Borg charging him with three counts of aggravated arson and one count of residential arson.

Borg was found by a neighbor in the flaming rubble of the structure after the house exploded July 14 at approximately 9:14 p.m. Borg survived the explosion and was treated for severe burns.

Gay was reported missing in June. Borg and Gay had shared the home for several months before her disappearance.

Police say there are no new leads in Gay's disappearance. Borg is currently being held on a bond of $750,000.

Officials say it took about an hour to put the flames out. The explosion leveled the two-story home, and smoke was still rising from the rubble the next morning.

Authorities say they believe Borg, who was the only person inside, tampered with the gas line.

"There's obvious signs that a gas line had been taken apart at the coupling, and the valve appears to have been left in a wide open position," said Will County Sheriff's Office Deputy Chief Ken Kaupas.

Police say Borg is a strong person of interest in the disappearance of 54-year-old waitress Anne Gay, who was his live-in girlfriend. She has been missing since June, when she failed to show up to work at Louis' Family Restaurant in Joliet.

Her co-workers say she would never just vanish.

"Anne would not just not let us know where she's at or not contact her daughter or see her grandkids or talk to her friends. I mean, it's just not Anne," said Valerie Venegas, who also works at the restaurant.

Police say they had answered 13 calls to the house for domestic violence since the beginning of the year. After Gay disappeared, detectives searched the home and said they found evidence of a struggle and confronted Borg.

"He came in with an attorney," Kaupas said. "I think it was probably obvious to him that we had honed the focus of our investigation down to him."

Borg suffered burns over 70 percent of his body in the explosion and fire and was rushed to a local hospital in critical condition.

He was the only person in the home, but the fire did start to spread to a neighboring home where a family of four lives. That family was able to get out unharmed, but their home suffered moderate damage.

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