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Published October 21, 2011, 11:30 PM

Bergquist: No prime suspects in fires

Investigators look at Facebook threats
BARNESVILLE, Minn. – Clay County authorities are trying to narrow in on potential suspects behind a recent rash of arsons at a farmstead here, but multiple Facebook threats against one of the victims have only complicated the investigation.

BARNESVILLE, Minn. – Clay County authorities are trying to narrow in on potential suspects behind a recent rash of arsons at a farmstead here, but multiple Facebook threats against one of the victims have only complicated the investigation.

Matt and Tara Andvik were left homeless late Wednesday after a fire ravaged their home in what authorities called the sixth suspected case of arson in two weeks.

Sheriff Bill Bergquist said Friday that Clay County deputies continue working surveillance shifts on the Andviks’ property, as they had been in the days leading up to Wednesday’s fire.

A deputy was about five minutes away when that arson was reported, which is how authorities could arrive at the rural home so quickly, Bergquist said.

Authorities set up a perimeter and scoured a nearby wooded area but could find no clues of the culprit, Bergquist said.

As of Friday afternoon, there were “no prime suspects” yet, but as many as eight investigators were chasing leads related to the case, he said.

That work includes analyzing a swarm of Facebook posts from animal-rights activists who have repeatedly threatened Tara Andvik, a well-known bow hunter.

Investigators are checking out a number of individuals linked to harassing comments on her Facebook page, Bergquist said Friday.

Negative comments posted Thursday on Andvik’s fan page spoke of karma, including one Facebook user who wrote, “Karma happens to ugly people who kill animals for fun.”

“Maybe you should think about how ‘the world’ may get you back for all the animals you kill,” another user wrote.

The negative comments began daily about 1½ months ago, Matt Andvik has said. His wife has said the messages are often personal and graphic.

Investigators are working closely with the family to look at every angle of the case, Bergquist said.

Matt Andvik has agreed to take a polygraph test, but Tara Andvik, who has written about the request on Facebook, has declined to do so, Bergquist said.

He said that’s normal and isn’t concerning to investigators.

“(The polygraph) makes people nervous,” he said. “Some people think they’ll fail even when they’re innocent.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541

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