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Molotov cocktail used in arson

Remains of the explosive that destroyed a church building have been sent for DNA and fingerprint testing.

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
MUKILTEO — A Molotov cocktail was used to start the fire that destroyed a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building here last month.
The Oct. 16 arson caused nearly $4 million in damage. The building at the corner of Harbour Pointe Boulevard and Chennault Beach Drive was a total loss.
Remnants of the Molotov cocktail, a kind of homemade explosive, have been sent to the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab for possible fingerprint and DNA testing, Mukilteo Detective Lance Smith said Friday night.
Investigators obtained surveillance video from nearby Kamiak High School that shows part of the arson in progress, Smith said.
“We had a clear view of the back of the church,” he said. “It shows a device being lit, a device being thrown, and then relatively quickly — within two to three minutes — the back of the church is engulfed in flames.”
Since the fire, investigators have been conducting interviews and following up on tips, Smith said. They also are waiting on results from several subpoenas they think could produce important evidence.
The crime lab often has a backlog for DNA testing, but this case was considered a priority, Smith said. An analyst has been assigned, and investigators are hoping for results in the next few weeks.
Church leaders have been helpful and patient with the investigation, Smith said. He believes the suspected arsonist was deliberately targeting the church and its community.
Last month, church leaders told The Herald they are devoted to moving on with their faith and not focusing on the crime. Several congregations that were displaced are holding services in Lynnwood and south Everett. They expect to complete a new building at the Mukilteo site in less than two years.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449;
Police urge anyone with information about the Oct. 16 church fire in Mukilteo to call 800-55-ARSON (800-552-7766). A $10,000 reward is being offered for information leading to a conviction.
Story tags » MukilteoArsonCrimePolice

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