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Woman arrested on suspicion of arson probe in own home
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Woman arrested on suspicion of arson probe in own home

Woman arrested on suspicion of arson probe in own home
A Puyallup mother was arrested for arson after a house fire that injured her young son. Deputies say she has a history of fraud -- and neighbors donated more than $30,000.

Woman arrested on suspicion of arson probe in own home

A Pierce County, Wash., sheriff's spokesman says a woman whose house burned down a day before her hospitalized infant daughter died has been arrested for investigation of arson.

Washington police say Mindie Sayers story just didn't add up, so they confronted her, and Thursday she confessed to setting that fire. 

On Thursday night, the Sayers' charred house was empty. The damage from an April 1 fire nearly killed Mindie and her 2-year-old son, Eli.

Friends, neighbors and good hearted strangers were certainly fooled—they donated thousands of dollars to help a family in need.     

Christina Turner lives two doors down. "It was scary finding out that there was an explosion," she said.

The 37-year-old mother was praised for acting quickly to save her son, but today she confessed to setting that fire by lighting a slow-burning candle that ignited a leaky oxygen tank. 

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"We looked at the equipment and found out she was a registered nurse and has some issues with fraud in the past. [We] put the evidence together and confronted her," a spokesperson for the sherriff's department said. 

The Sayers were preparing to bring home their daughter, Abagail, who was at Seattle Children's Hospital since her premature birth 11 months earlier. The girl, who even had Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson come visit her, died in the hospital the night of the fire. 

"It wouldn't be prudent for us to not to take a look at the little girl's death," he said. "We are definitely not accusing her of anything, but we have actually called the Seattle police department and the King County Medical Examiner's office."

Neighbors were so touhed by the back-to-back tragedies that they donated more than $30,000 to the Sayers family.

Turner spearheaded some of that effort through here own business and now will gladly give the money back. 

"Oh I'm very angry," she said. "I took two full days out of my schedule to make sure I could do everything possible for that family."

Police say Mindie's husband seems to be a victim in all of this as well. He did not respond to messages that were left for him.

Sayers's first court appearance is Friday.

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  • Investigators have released photos and surveillance video in hopes of identifying the gunmen who killed a restaurant manager during a robbery this weekend. According to police, three men entered Barcelona Wine Bar on Howell Mill Road in the West Midtown neighborhood as it was closing around 1:45 a.m. Sunday, and tied up the employees with electrical tape.  The men then forced the manager, 29-year-old Chelsea Beller , upstairs to open up the safe. That’s when they shot her. Beller later died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  'I think it's important for us all to acknowledge that this isn't Atlanta. This isn't the Wild Wild West,' Beller's friend Tyler Walters said.  @Atlanta_Police just released this dramatic surveillance from inside Barcelona wine bar of Sunday’s deadly robbery. https://t.co/YHueSecqL7 Police need your help. $7k reward for info. @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/QJG5xHIZMv — Aaron Diamant (@AaronDiamantWSB) November 20, 2017 As Channel 2’s Carl Willis went through the new video, he saw Atlanta police back at the scene looking for evidence in the shooting. Beller's friends say the 29-year-old considered co-workers and restaurant regulars her family. TRENDING STORIES: Police release dramatic video, photos of gunmen who killed restaurant manager Out with a bang: Georgia Dome comes down in Atlanta Grandmother says Facebook Live saved her life: 'I could have died' 'She was the salt of the earth. She was the type of person that had a genuine sense of caring,' Walters said. “She loved coming to work. She loved what she did. It was just a place that she felt happy and she enjoyed what she did.' Investigators are hoping that even though the suspects' faces are masked, that someone might have an idea who they are, and bring a little peace to those grieving over Beller’s loss.  “Money is money, but killing young ladies who are in the prime of their lives, that's not who Atlanta is,' Walter told Willis.  A reward of up to $7,000 is being offered for information leading to an arrest and indictment. The Atlanta Police Department released a statement about the incident, saying:  “No crime against our citizens, anywhere in the city, is acceptable. But the robbery and murder of an innocent restaurant manager doing her job is a terrible crime that has shocked even the most jaded among us here at APD,' the department said in a statement Monday. 'We have made fighting violent crime our priority, and this incident underscores that our work is never done. Our investigators are working diligently to find those responsible for this crime. We will continue to focus our efforts on identifying and apprehending violent repeat offenders who prey on innocent people. These crimes are unacceptable, and we will not rest in our pursuit of shutting down these violent criminals.” Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact police through Crime Stoppers Atlanta . Their phone number is 404-577-8477 and you can remain anonymous.
  • UPDATE: Coosa County sheriff's officials said the man has been captured in DeKalb County. Channel 2 Action News has learned that an armed man who authorities said escaped an Alabama jail may now be in metro Atlanta. Shane Anthony Vernon escaped the Coosa County Jail Sunday, local authorities said.   On Tuesday, U.S. Marshals told Channel 2 Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr that Vernon kidnapped a man from Alabama and dropped him and the car off in Douglasville. Vernon was nowhere to be found. TRENDING STORIES: Ex-Braves GM banned for life by MLB; Atlanta loses prospects 60+ people fall ill after company Thanksgiving party Jailhouse phone calls reveal aftermath of deadly heroin-fueled crash Vernon is considered armed and dangerous. Coosa County Sheriff Terry Wilson explained the timeline to Carr Tuesday afternoon. He told Carr on Oct. 30, Vernon got out of handcuffs during booking for another home invasion. 'He pulled out his restraints and ran out the jail,' Wilson told Carr by phone. Out of the jail and into the woods we're told he went. He was captured almost immediately. But on Sunday, things changed. 'He was allowed to use one of the inmate telephones in the jail. And a corrections officer did not properly secure the door,' Wilson explained. It was an officer's actions that led to a second escape and now an internal investigation. 'He was able to climb through the ceiling and go over four other secured doors to get to the other side and went out the door again.' A map takes on Vernon's crime spree after his jail ceiling escape. There were residents tied up and robbed on Sunday. On Monday, a family including a 2-year-old child, were tied up as Vernon continued to steal cars, guns and a bike. Finally on Monday night, as he tried to hide a stolen van, he forced an Elmore County man into a car and drove him to metro Atlanta. That's where the man somehow escaped Vernon Tuesday morning and made it to the Douglasville Police Department while Vernon took off to parts unknown. 'It's a tragedy all the way around. I just hope that we can get him picked up before he hurts somebody,' Wilson said. The sheriff said they'll be processing the stolen car and have a better idea of how this happened by tomorrow morning.   CONFIRMED w/Alabama Sheriff: This is the second time in three weeks that Shane Vernon has escaped the Coosa Co. jail. Sunday’s escape was through ceiling tile exit. Now may be in Metro ATL armed, dangerous, authorities say @wsbtv pic.twitter.com/H3VJbpY74B — Nicole Carr (@NicoleCarrWSB) November 21, 2017
  • The wife of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul says her husband hasn't taken a single breath without pain since what she calls 'a deliberate, blindside attack' by a Kentucky neighbor earlier this month.Authorities say the Republican was attacked Nov. 3 by Rene Boucher while mowing his lawn. Kelley Paul writes in an essay published by CNN that her husband suffered six broken ribs and fluid in his lungs. Paul says he was diagnosed with pneumonia after returning from Washington last week.Boucher is charged with misdemeanor assault. His attorney blames the attack on a 'trivial' dispute and says it wasn't politically motivated.Kelly Paul says neither she, nor her husband, have spoken to Boucher in 10 years. She writes that 'the only 'dispute' existed solely in the attacker's troubled mind.
  • Police have released the 911 calls from the robbery and shooting at Barcelona Wine Bar.  The shooting happened early Sunday morning.  According to police, three men entered Barcelona Wine Bar on Howell Mill Road in the West Midtown neighborhood as it was closing around 1:45 a.m. Sunday, and tied up the employees with electrical tape.  We’re going through the calls for a live report on Channel 2 Action News at Noon. TRENDING STORIES: Ex-Braves GM banned for life by MLB; Atlanta loses prospects 60+ people fall ill after company Thanksgiving party Jailhouse phone calls reveal aftermath of deadly heroin-fueled crash The men then forced the manager, 29-year-old Chelsea Beller, upstairs to open up the safe. That’s when they shot her. Beller later died at Grady Memorial Hospital.  One of the callers was an Uber driver who said she was about to pick up a passenger in the location when she saw some commotion. Another caller was a security guard in the parking lot who said he saw a man run into the restaurant who seemed like he did not belong inside. He can be heard as he apparently sees the men run out of the restaurant and across the street. Investigators have released photos and surveillance video in hopes of identifying the gunmen who killed a restaurant manager during a robbery this weekend.
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  • A convicted felon sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison under Washington state's three-strikes law has been charged with shooting and killing a man earlier this month. The life sentence of Stonney Marcus Rivers, 50, was commuted by then-Gov. Christine Gregoire in 2013 during her final days in office. Rivers was released from prison in early 2015. On Nov. 2, police officers were called to the Golden Kent Motel on 84th Avenue South after gunfire rang out. Nearby Mill Creek Middle School was locked down as a precaution. Surveillance images show Rivers leaving the scene, according to Kent Police Chief Ken Thomas. >> Read more trending news 'We believe it was Mr. Rivers that pulled the trigger,' Thomas told KIRO 7. 'We certainly know, if Mr. Rivers' sentence wasn't commuted, he wouldn't be out of custody and he would not have committed that crime.' David A. Cabrera was found dead in motel room No. 18, according to a police report. He had been 'shot in the face' in front of his girlfriend during what police call a suspected drug deal. Theneious Fisteral Swafford, 47, has been charged as an accomplice in the case. Investigators believe Swafford, also a convicted felon, drove Rivers to and from the crime scene. Rivers' lengthy police record includes multiple convictions for robbery, assault and 'a propensity for violence that creates a substantial likelihood of danger to the community,' according to charging documents filed this week in King County Superior Court. Rivers' criminal history was used as an example by policymakers drawing up the state's three-strikes law in the 1990s, according to Paul Guppy of the Washington Policy Center. 'He became one of the first cases in our state that was eligible for 'three strikes, you're out,'' Guppy told KIRO 7 on Tuesday. 'He was sentenced to life, so the system worked, and for every day he stayed in jail, the public was safe.' 'In this case, he was released and he committed another violent crime,' Guppy said. 'It's a stunning failure of a system that was put into place by the voters of our state to protect the public from exactly this kind of person.' KIRO 7 reached out to then-Gov. Gregoire for comment. This is the statement her former chief of staff, Marty Loesch, released: “King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, the Clemency and Pardons Board and the sentencing judge, Kathleen Learned, recommended the commutation of the sentence of Mr. Stonney Marcus Rivers to me in 2013. Their recommendations carried great weight with me. Mr. Rivers had been sentenced to life without possibility of parole soon after the passage of Washington’s Persistent Offender Accountability Act, the so-called “Three Strikes Law” for the crime of Robbery 2 and by the time of his release had served twenty years in prison. Robbery 2 typically results in a sentence of two to three years. Based on these recommendations and the facts available at the time, to include his performance while in prison, I conditionally commuted Mr. Rivers sentence to his time served subject to compliance with twenty-one different conditions. The allegations against him suggest that he violated these conditions and should be returned to prison for the rest of his life. My heart goes out to the victim, family and friends.”