Man arrested in Washington mobile home fire that killed 4
PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — Police have arrested a man suspected in a mobile home fire in Washington state that killed four people. His wife and three young children who lived with them have not been seen since the blaze.
Police booked Matthew Timothy Wetherington, 34, into jail Saturday night. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on his behalf. He’s due in court Monday.
Four bodies were found inside a trailer at a mobile home park in Port Angeles, a coastal gateway to Olympic National Park, but they have not been identified yet.
Investigators believe Wetherington lived in the trailer with his wife, Valerie Kambeitz, who has not been seen since the fire, Port Angeles Deputy Police Chief Jason Viada said.
Three children also lived with the couple and have not been found: Lilly Kambeitz, 9, Emma Kambeitz, 6, and Jayden Kambeitz, 5.
A marriage license for Wetherington and Kambeitz was issued on May 1 in Clallam County.
Police said Wetherington was seen running away just as the fire erupted. They found Wetherington at a campsite in the woods and arrested him. They are not looking for anyone else in connection with the fire.
Wetherington has a criminal record that includes convictions for child molestation, unlawful imprisonment, assault, attempted robbery and burglary with sexual motivation. He is a registered sex offender in Pierce County, Washington.
Local and state detectives were working with coroner’s officials and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents to determine what caused the fire and how the victims died.
The medical examiner’s office from nearby King County would conduct autopsies, Port Angeles Chief of Police Brian Smith said.
The blaze began at the residential Welcome Inn RV Park around 2:30 a.m. Saturday.
The bodies were found inside the trailer where the fire began, and the flames had spread to another trailer and a vehicle before being contained by emergency crews.
A man inside the second trailer was able to escape through a window unharmed.
This story has been corrected to show that the suspect has been booked into jail but hasn’t been charged with murder.