PAYNESVILLE — The Paynesville woman who died Tuesday, July 23, in a fire allegedly set by her father could be heard screaming from the back of the home when a police officer arrived.
Court documents in the murder case against her father state that Jamey Marie Newport, 22, called police and said her father was going to start her home on fire. While on the phone, she started screaming and yelling for help, saying she could not get out of the house.
The investigation into the fire and her death also found evidence that John Sean Newport had been in an argument with his daughter around the time of the fire. There was a Facebook post in which he allegedly said he intended to burn down the mobile home where she lived.
John Newport, 46, of Paynesville, was charged Thursday, July 25, in Stearns County District Court with second-degree murder while committing a felony.
According to the criminal complaint against him, Newport allegedly caused the death of his daughter while committing first-degree arson at the mobile home.
Newport's bail was set at $1 million with conditions or $2 million without. He remains in custody in the Stearns County Jail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 5.
Police responded around 6:52 p.m. Tuesday to a mobile home in Paynesville following the call from Jamey Newport.
When a Paynesville police officer arrived on scene, he observed black smoke coming from the front of the mobile home. The officer tried to enter the home from the front door but was unable to gain access due to the thick smoke. The officer also reported hearing screaming from the back of the home, court documents said.
The officer retrieved a fire extinguisher from his squad vehicle and then tried to enter the home from the rear door. The officer continued to hear screaming coming from the home. Documents said the officer kicked open the rear door and deployed the fire extinguisher, hoping to reduce the flames.
As the officer tried to enter the structure, the home became engulfed in flames, documents said. The heat and smoke from the fire became overwhelming and the officer had to retreat back to the front of the house. It was there the officer came across John Newport, who had allegedly broken a window and was yelling at his daughter through the window, court documents said. John Newport also allegedly tried to enter the home through the front door, retreated and then tried to enter through the window.
John Newport was restrained by the police officer. Documents said John Newport was covered in soot and had blood on his hands and arms. He was transported to St. Cloud Hospital for treatment and then taken to the Stearns County Jail.
When the Paynesville Fire Department arrived, firefighters immediately started to extinguish the fire and entered the house. They removed Jamey Newport from the home and began lifesaving measures, the documents state. She was taken to CentraCare Hospital in Paynesville, where she was pronounced dead. An autopsy by the Midwest Medical Examiner's Office said the cause of death was inhalation of products of combustion and listed the manner of death as homicide.
A deputy state fire marshal found evidence of accelerant in the home. A gas can was located inside the home near the front door and the can was believed to have still contained some accelerant, the court documents said. A lighter was also located on the ground outside the home.
The investigation is ongoing, according to a news release from the Stearns County Attorney's Office.
There did not appear to be any funeral arrangements announced yet Thursday for Jamey Newport.
What appears to be her Facebook page shows a post just one hour before she called police Tuesday evening with multiple photos and video of playing with kittens. There are dozens of comments on the post, most of them since her death, with messages of sadness and grief.