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DNA leads to arrest in Metzger arson attempt case

DNA evidence led Washington County Sheriff's Office deputies to arrest a contractor suspected in an attempted arson in May of a house under construction in the unincorporated community of Metzger.

William Michael Bunch was indicted on June 3 and is facing three counts of attempted first-degree arson.

He was arrested June 8 and lodged in the Washington County Jail, where he posted bail and is no longer in custody, said Sgt. Vance Stimler, spokesman for the sheriff's office.

The suspect's place of residence was not immediately available.

Deputies responded on Monday, May 23, to a 9-1-1 call from a man who said he interrupted suspects trying to burn down the house in which he was sleeping in the 7500 block of Southwest Cedarcrest Street in Metzger.

The caller, whose father owns the house, which was in its final stages of construction, said he heard footsteps in the house. He said he yelled, and the suspects ran off.

The man said he discovered a liquid accelerant had been poured in the house close to a small device that appeared to have a timer attached to it. He said he threw the device the back yard, according to sheriff's office reports.

The Portland Police Bureau bomb squad was called to assist and inspect the device, and surrounding residents were relocated, but the device was determined not to be an explosive.

No fire was reported, but there was an unknown amount of damage from the accelerant.

Investigators concluded the arson attempt was related to a dispute between the property owner and Bunch, one of the building contractors. The homeowner claimed the contractor's work was not done correctly, and the dispute went into legal arbitration, according to sheriff's office reports.

Detectives interviewed Bunch and obtained a DNA sample they said matched DNA from the crime scene.

Evidence suggests a second individual assisted with the arson. Detectives are working on what they called 'several strong leads' and expect to make an additional arrest soon.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact sheriff's office Detective Dave Anderson at 503-846-2600.