When I first read about Tara Andvik in our local paper, I thought about posting it here. I decided to let it play out to arrest and it happened exactly like I suspected it would. Obviously, I hang out here too much.
Here's the first article that caught my attention:
October 20, 2011
http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/337881/The sixth suspected case of arson in two weeks at a farmstead near here has left a family homeless and frustrated investigators chasing down leads.
The latest fire at Matt and Tara Andvik’s home started before 9 p.m. Wednesday on the rear deck and quickly spread to the rest of the house, leaving it a total loss, said Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist.
Tara Andvik was home when the fire started and was able to get out safely with her dog. Two pet rabbits died in the fire, authorities said.
Her husband said he left with the couple’s two children before the fire started. The children have not been staying at home due to the string of fires.
Matt Andvik and the first authorities to respond arrived on the scene of the fire within minutes.
“There was smoke pouring out of the living room,” he said. “We tried with the garden hose to try to do something before the fire department showed up. But that didn’t really do a whole lot.”
Firefighters from Barnesville and Hawley fought the blaze until the early morning hours. The Minnesota Fire Marshal is investigating the fire, as well as five earlier incidents, which include grass fires, a fire on the house’s front porch and a fire that destroyed the Andviks’ barn.
Authorities believe all of the fires were arson, said Clay County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Landsem. The fire marshal took samples to determine how they were set, he said.
Investigators are looking at all possible leads, including a recent set of restraining orders involving Tara Andvik, Bergquist said.
Court records show Tara Andvik, 33, obtained a restraining order on Aug. 3 against Keith Beam, a 46-year-old man from New Glarus, Wis. She claims in court documents that Beam is the producer of a hunting show on the Outdoor Channel that she used to work for until he pressured her to “move the relationship from professional to intimate.”
Andvik said in the court petition that Beam called her home five to 10 times per day and sent more than 100 text and video messages of a sexual nature between November 2010 and July 20. She said in the petition that she was “frightened by (Beam’s) violent outbursts and verbal threats that he will ‘show up’ at her home.”
But Beam’s attorneys say in court records that Andvik made repeated attempts to contact Beam after she got the restraining order. That contact prompted him to get a restraining order against Andvik on Aug. 19. In his petition, Beam says he and Andvik were in a romantic relationship that ended in July.
Investigators also are looking into threats left on Andvik’s Facebook page (which has been deleted), Bergquist said.
Matt Andvik said Thursday that his wife, a well-known bow hunter, began getting negative comments on her Facebook page daily about 1˝ months ago. His wife had said earlier that one of the threats, from a woman in Australia, had specifically mentioned arson.
“Until we get to the point where we eliminate somebody, it’s still under investigation,” Landsem said.
Investigators even asked Tara Andvik to take a polygraph test, prompting her to obtain a lawyer, according to a comment she made this week on her Facebook page.
The comment about the polygraph came in the early morning hours Tuesday, 30 minutes after she wrote on Facebook that she wishes the arsonist would finish the job and quit making her life difficult.
The case is frustrating for authorities, Bergquist said, because arson leaves little evidence behind.
“It’s very frustrating for the family. They’re looking for us to help them, and it’s tough,” Bergquist said. “Arson is a very, very difficult crime to solve.”
Matt Andvik said the family has been getting up every hour to make sure nothing is on fire. They also installed surveillance cameras around the house.
In an incident last week, investigators were in the house talking to the family about the fire to the front porch, which had started hours earlier, when they noticed the barn on fire, Bergquist said.
“You’re just kind of constantly living and going ‘OK, what’s next?’ ” Matt Andvik said. “Apparently this was next.”
The house that’s been in the Andvik family for 120 years is still standing but completely destroyed from the inside and out. The family will live with relatives as they decide what to do. Matt Andvik said it’s a difficult situation to describe to their kids.
“How do you explain to them that all their toys are up in smoke, and their clothes?” he said. “How do you go about telling them that the house that you grew up in now is gone?”
http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/337808/Authorities have said last week’s fires appeared to have been intentionally set and came shortly after Tara Andvik, a well-known bow hunter, began to receive threatening messages from anti-hunting activists. One of the threats, most of which were delivered on Facebook, originated from an Australian woman who said Tara Andvik’s house should be lit on fire with her family inside it, Tara Andvik said.
Andvik said the “personal and graphic” comments began streaming in within the past few weeks, roughly 200 messages about which she and Matt had notified authorities before the fires.
http://www.wday.com/event/article/id/53618/The Barnesville arson investigation is spanning the globe. Federal agencies have been called in to help after a significant number of frightening Facebook posts. The FBI is following leads because of threatening comments on Andvik's Facebook. Some say "go spear yourself", "karma will get you", or even call her sick or inappropriate names. The investigation stretches states, even countries, from as far as Germany and Australia. Authorities are going directly through Facebook to get IP addresses. That is taking a long time. Clay County's sheriff calls the case very challenging, because a large dynamic of it surrounds the internet.
Bill Bergquist – Clay County Sheriff: “Well, you know we're working on many things. As we all know there's been lots of things on the computers. We're going through every one, piece by piece.”
Bergquist says the investigation has gone overboard because of the Facebook messages.
Totally weird... until this morning:
http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/341646/When her 10-acre farmstead was the target of a series of alleged arsons in October, Tara Joette Andvik gave police a few ideas about suspects.
Perhaps, she told them, it was animal rights activists who threatened her online, or maybe the producer of an outdoors TV show on which she had appeared.
Authorities say evidence told a different story. The 33-year-old was charged Friday with three counts of first-degree arson in Clay County District Court, accused of setting two fires at her own home – including the Oct. 19 blaze that destroyed the structure.
An arrest warrant was issued Friday for Andvik, who not been arrested at the time this story went to print Wednesday evening.
Clay County Sheriff Bill Bergquist said the warrant was sought because officers want to question Andvik – who has said in online postings she declined to take a lie detector test when requested by investigators.
Authorities don’t know for sure where she has been living since the Oct. 19 fire, Bergquist said.
According to documents filed with the court:
Andvik lived at 17332 250th St. S. in Clay County with her husband, Matt, and two children. After two grass fires were reported in the area earlier in October, Tara Andvik called 911 at 2:41 a.m. Oct. 12, to report a fire on a wooden deck of her home. She stated it was likely caused by the person who started the grass fires.
About 6:25 a.m. that same morning, an officer saw a barn on the property was on fire. Moments later, it was engulfed in flames, and Tara Andvik came outside to shoot video of the fire.
A detective observed it would have been possible for Andvik to exit her bedroom through the back door, reach the barn and return without being noticed by people in the dining room area of the house, court records state.
Tara Andvik suggested to authorities that activists upset over hunting videos she posted online might be to blame for the fires. She also suggested as a suspect Keith Beam, an ex-producer with whom she had a romantic relationship that prompted both of them to receive restraining orders against each another.
According to the complaint, credit card records show Beam was not in the area at the time of the fires.
Investigators also found Tara Andvik spent a large amount of time on Facebook and was getting large amounts of attention for the fires on her property.
While Andvik was getting negative reaction online by hunting opponents, officers claim she was also known to create Facebook profiles under different names and were concerned she might be sending threats to herself, court documents state.
On Oct. 17, Andvik reported three fires in bushes adjacent to her house at a time she was home alone.
Authorities determined the fires were started with a small book of matches of a kind identical to matches found in the Andvik home. When asked to give a DNA sample to compare against DNA that might be found on the suspect matches, Tara Andvik didn’t comply.
Oct. 19 – the night before a detective was set to install cameras on their property – Andvik was home alone when she called 911 to report another porch fire.
During the call, Andvik calmly provided the dispatcher with her name and address but didn’t mention the fire until asked about it. She realized during the call that the fire had spread to the house. The first officer to arrive found her outside crying on the ground.
A search in the wake of the fire found no one in the area, authorities say.
A facebook page titled "Tara Andvik Fan Page" which has turned into anything BUT a fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-...283356?sk=wall