A Port Angeles man has been arrested on suspicion of first-degree arson and four counts of first-degree murder in connection with a fatal fire at a Port Angeles trailer park Saturday morning
Matthew T. Wetherington was booked into the Clallam County Jail Saturday night after being questioned and arrested in a Port Angeles city park at about 10 p.m. Saturday night. There are no other suspects in the fire.
Valerie Kambeitz, 34; Lilly Kambeitz, 9; Emma Kambeitz, 6; and Jayden Kambeitz, 5; have not been seen since the fire broke out at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday in the trailer where they lived, according to Port Angeles police.
Police believe Wetherington also lived in the trailer and that he was married to Valerie Kambeitz, said Deputy Chief of Police Jason Viada of the Clallam County Police Department. The couple married on May 4 in Clallam County, according to their marriage certificate.
Wetherington was seen running from the scene just as the fire suddenly erupted and four people were later found dead inside the home, Port Angeles police reported.
Wetherington has a long criminal record, including convictions for child molestation, unlawful imprisonment, assault, attempted robbery, and burglary with sexual motivation. He was a registered sex offender in Pierce County.
Detectives have not been able to confirm the identities of the deceased persons discovered inside the trailer, but it seems most likely to have been Kambeitz and her children, Viada said. “That has not been 100 percent confirmed but we are reasonably certain that is who those people are,” Viada said in a telephone interview Sunday morning. “As for forensically 100 percent confirmation, we don’t have that yet, but we are operating on the reasonable assumption that we know who they were.”
The trailer was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at about 2:30 a.m. and the fire had spread to another trailer and burned a vehicle. The firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze before it spread.
A man living in the second trailer was able to crawl out of a window to safety as that structure was catching fire. No one else was in that trailer.
Wetherington is expected to appear in Clallam County Superior Court Monday July 8 at about 1 p.m.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call 360-452-4545 and ask to leave information about this case with a detective.
The Port Angeles Police Department and Fire Department are working on the case with the Washington State Patrol Crime Scene Response Team, Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the Bremerton Fire Marshal, Clallam County Sheriff, and Sequim Police.
News researcher Miyoko Wolf contributed to this report.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that Matthew Wetherington had been charged. He has been arrested but not charged.