Father of teen convicted of arson stands by his son - KPTV - FOX 12

Dad stands by teen who tried to burn down house with parents inside

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HILLSBORO, OR (KPTV) -

The father of a teen sentenced for setting a fire at his parent's home is speaking out about what happened.

Dakota Eldridge, 15, was sentenced on Tuesday to the Oregon Youth Authority and then to a treatment center for counseling.

Police said Dakota set a fire outside his parent's bedroom in an attempt to try and kill them.

Dakota's father said the family is still trying to understand what exactly happened and who exactly was responsible.

One thing they are certain of is that they stand behind their son.

"I couldn't imagine Dakota doing it on his own. He's a nice, loving kid, who never hurt his parents," said James Eldridge.

Eldridge said his family is heartbroken from dealing with everything they've been through.

When Dakota was arrested, James Eldridge said police never collected any evidence at the scene of the fire to link Dakota to the crime.

Eldridge said Dakota has told his family he didn't do it. They want to believe him, especially because they said Dakota has a big heart and has volunteered in the community in the past.

They said Dakota suffers from seizures and he has told them he doesn't remember what happened that night.

They also said he's never given them any major problems in the past.

"He's barely talked back to us. He usually takes his punishment when he gets in trouble. He's just a really gentle kid who loves his mom," added Eldridge.

Dakota will spend the next couple of months at the Oregon Youth Authority facility before he can be transferred to another location to start receiving treatment and counseling.

Under the sentence handed down by the judge, Dakota could be held until the age of 25.

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