The owner of a southwest Washington home that burned this week as a gunman kept firefighters away was under investigation for sex crimes, authorities said Thursday.
Steven D. Stanbary, 47, was due to turn himself in to Washougal detectives Thursday, the Clark County Sheriff's Office said in a written statement. Instead, his house caught fire the day before, and a man inside _ investigators did not positively ID the gunman as Stanbary _ fired shots to prevent neighbors, firefighters and police from helping.
Authorities found at least two bodies in the charred rubble where Stanbary lived with his wife, Leona Bolton, 50, and her identical twin sister, and they spent Friday looking for more remains. Identifying the victims could be difficult, given that identical twins have extremely similar DNA.
Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Allais declined to provide details about the sex crimes investigation, except to tell The Columbian that it involved allegations of repeated incidents of abuse. Allais declined to say whether it involved more than one alleged victim or what the connection was to Stanbary.
The announcement Friday afternoon came amid news reports noting that the fire coincided with the 27th anniversary of another, more well-known standoff _ one that killed white supremacist Robert J. Mathews, the founder of the neo-Nazi group The Order, on Whidbey Island, Wash., as his house burned down around him.
Stanbary had a history of espousing white supremacist views, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups.
But investigators said Friday they did not believe the fire at his house had anything to do with the anniversary. Washougal detectives arranged with Stanbary's lawyer Tuesday that he would turn himself in on Thursday, they said.
Stanbary was arrested and served 90 days in jail following a standoff with sheriff's deputies in Bonner County, Idaho, in 1994. Authorities seized a weapons cache at his home, including a grenade launcher, a sawed-off shotgun and six AK-47 assault rifles.
Homer Adams, who worked for Stanbary at a landscaping company, told the AP his boss mentioned Randy Weaver, a white separatist involved in a deadly confrontation with federal agents in Idaho in 1992. Adams said the homeowner also seemed angry about the 1993 federal action in Waco, Texas, that led to the deaths of dozens of members of the Branch Davidian Church.