Alaska State Troopers correct court filing errors in Ketchikan arson case

A small house smolders after burning in a fire.
A Dec. 31, 2019, fire in Ketchikan’s Refuge Cove area destroyed this building. (Photo by Eric Stone/KRBD)

Alaska State Troopers in Ketchikan are offering new details in the Dec. 31 arson investigation in which a trooper left a woman at her ex-boyfriend’s home. The woman is accused of intentionally setting fire to the property a few hours later.

Initially, Alaska State Troopers wrote in a court filing that Kami D. Riley had used Trooper Joey Beaudoin’s cellphone to leave a voicemail for her ex-boyfriend threatening to burn his house down.

But Trooper Lt. John Brown said that isn’t what happened at all.

“And so a mistake was made, and so we’ve written a new affidavit to fix that,” Brown said.

The second statement filed Thursday said the threatening voicemail actually came from another number. There was a call from the trooper’s cellphone, but that was when the trooper tried to contact the owner of the North Tongass Highway property which was Riley’s listed address.

“She didn’t immediately say that that’s where she wanted to go. So Trooper Beaudoin gave her a couple of options,” Brown said.

Brown said those options included WISH — Ketchikan’s shelter for domestic violence victims — but Riley wasn’t accepted there, as she’d been drinking.

“And she didn’t want to go to the warming shelter,” Brown added. “So (Beaudoin) went to the residence where she’s been living off-and-on for the last five years, and wasn’t able to talk to the owner but was able to figure out to figure out a safe place for her to stay.”

She told troopers she’d sleep in a truck parked on the rural property.

The homeowner said he woke up the next morning and saw Riley hitchhiking towards town. Minutes later, he smelled smoke and a neighbor called 911. The fire destroyed a structure on his property.

Riley was arrested later that morning, after a motorist who had given her a ride called police reporting that she smelled of diesel and made suspicious statements about the fire.

Riley has denied any knowledge of the crime. As of Thursday, she was in Ketchikan jail on $10,000 cash bail. She faces a single count of felony arson.

KRBD-Ketchikan’s Eric Stone contributed to this report.

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