ANCHORAGE - Anchorage police have connected an arson at a vacant duplex to the disappearance of a young woman, but aren't saying how or why.
Friday's announcement about the disappearance of 21-year-old Bethany Correira came two days after the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that someone intentionally set the fire.
Correira vanished soon after moving from Talkeetna to Anchorage. She disappeared from her Bootlegger Cove apartment May 3, just a week after she moved in and a day before she had an appointment to go shopping with her mother. The duplex was set ablaze early the next day.
Her mother, Linda Correira, has said her daughter had been doing some maintenance work and was showing apartments for her landlord.
Police Lt. Ross Plummer said the duplex was for rent when Correira vanished.
Brad Earman, special agent for the ATF, said Wednesday that federal investigators "have an idea of who did this and why," and that evidence found in the building included hair and fibers. But at that time, Earman wouldn't connect the fire to Correira's case.
Police connected the fire to the case Friday, although Plummer wouldn't explain why. Police and the ATF are working together on the case.
Soon after the fire, Anchorage firefighters said the blaze was likely electrical in origin and unrelated to Correira's disappearance. But police never ruled out the possibility that the two events were connected, Plummer said.
"It's something we've considered from the beginning," Plummer said.