Meadow Lake RCMP Re-open Seven-Year Arson Case

Bonnyville resident MaryBelle Miller shows the fire damage her home suffered following an arson in 2007. The Meadow Lake RCMP recently decided to re-open the case due to new information. (Photo by Omar Mosleh)

Bonnyville resident MaryBelle Miller shows the fire damage her home suffered following an arson in 2007. The Meadow Lake RCMP recently decided to re-open the case due to new information. (Photo by Omar Mosleh)

The Meadow Lake RCMP have re-opened the case file of an arson that occurred seven years ago.

Bonnyville resident MaryBelle Miller had her Meadow Lake home torched on June 23, 2007. The fire left the home uninhabitable.

The initial investigation ended without finding anyone guilty of the arson, which Miller believes was negligent.

“We’re following up on some new information that has come in,” confirmed Sgt. Brian Neilmeyer of the Meadow Lake RCMP.

Miller said she met with Const. Travis Adema and says he told her the RCMP would be questioning individuals and conducting lie detector tests, which Neilmeyer would neither confirm nor deny.

Miller is happy the case is being reopened because she believes the initial investigation wasn’t thorough enough.

“They didn’t want to deal with it … they didn’t even take fingerprints from the wine bottle or beer bottle that were right in the yard, or the broken window which (the suspects) came through,” she alleges.

Miller claims that she knows who committed the arson, and that she told the police multiple times, to no avail.

“They were lax,” Miller said. “They could have caught them just like that if they took fingerprints from the bottles in the yard.”

She has called the initial investigation a “farce”.

“I’m encouraged … There was a big mistake that was made, the way I see it,” she said.

Since the fire, Miller has sunk in thousands of dollars in repairs in the home, including replacing a door, getting shingles redone and maintaining the fence.

She also says she’s been paying full taxes on the property, and has been attempting to find someone to purchase the property with no luck.

Miller found out last month that the city now expects her to demolish the home because the structural and foundation damage to the home are beyond repair.

The city’s building official and fire chief, Neil Marsh, said in a letter to Miller that the house is in such a state of disrepair that it’s not feasible for it to be returned to a habitable dwelling.

That’s also a source of frustration for Miller, who has been maintaining and repairing the property for years, albeit without official building permits from the city.

“When the original fire happened, I should have been told at that point the house should be demolished due to the damage,” she said.

In additional to her financial losses, Miller says the seven-year saga has affected her health, causing significant stress, including an ulcer.

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