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Published December 01 2011

Accused arsonist turns herself in

MOORHEAD – A rural Barnesville woman accused of setting fires at her own home turned herself in on a warrant Thursday afternoon at the Clay County Sheriff’s Office.

Tara Joette Andvik was booked into the Clay County Jail on three counts of first-degree arson, Sheriff Bill Bergquist said.

Bail is set at $75,000 cash or bond.

Andvik’s attorney, Steven Mottinger, declined to comment on specifics of the case or say where Andvik had been since the arrest warrant was issued Nov. 23.

“Arrangements were made for Ms. Andvik to turn herself in this afternoon, and that’s what she did,” he said.

Mottinger and the prosecutor in the case, Assistant County Attorney Heidi Davies, said they expect Andvik to make her first court appearance today. At a first appearance, the judge advises the defendant of the charges and his or her rights. Bail and legal representation also are discussed.

One of the fires, on Oct. 19, destroyed the home at 17332 250th St. S. in Clay County where Andvik, 33, lived with her husband, Matt, and two children. She’s accused of setting that fire, as well as a fire on Oct. 12 on the home’s wooden deck and a fire the same morning that destroyed a barn on the property while authorities were investigating the deck fire.

Each arson charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528