Police in Port Angeles, Washington, have identified 34-year-old Matthew Wetherington as a person of interest after four bodies, presumably of a mother and her three kids, ages 5, 6 and 9, were found Saturday in a burned mobile home trailer where he lived.
Police have not confirmed the identities of the bodies or the exact number but said Valerie Kambeitz, Lilly Kambeitz, Emma Kambeitz and Jayden Kambeitz are all unaccounted for and the sizes of the bodies found in the burned trailer, which went up in flames around 2:30 a.m., indicate children are among the dead.
Wetherington, who police say hasn’t been seen since the fire, is a level III sex offender, according to the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs’ online database.
Police couldn’t immediately clarify Wetherington’s relationship to the mother but Facebook posts and pictures indicate the two were married. Police don’t believe he is among the dead but said that could change during the investigation.
The fire was reported early Saturday at the Welcome Inn Trailer Park along Highway 101 in Port Angeles. Cellphone video shared with KIRO 7 showed massive flames, which police said spread to a second mobile home and several cars.
A man in the second mobile trailer escaped through a window, according to police.
"Sometime in the wee hours, I was sleeping. I heard a double pop, pop like fireworks,” said neighbor Nita Frantz, who called 911. "I was scared out of my mind because the breeze was blowing towards the east, and I just thought for sure one after another was going to go, like dominoes falling."
State and federal investigators have been called in to help with the investigation. Police have not yet said what caused the fire but have been working to connect with witnesses and anyone who recorded video of the fire.
"We'll go wherever the facts take us,” said Port Angeles Police Chief Brian Smith, who told KIRO 7 the coroner will identify the bodies and determine the exact cause of death for each. “Looks like small people, which indicates children, but again, that’s not definitive.”
Investigators want Wetherington and anyone who knows where he’s at or has been in contact with him to contact Port Angeles police at 360-452-4545.
Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.
Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.