Courtesy Bend Police

Bend transient woman arrested on arson, assault charges after homeless camp incident

A Bend transient woman was arrested early Monday morning after allegedly setting fire to a mobile home and beating someone with a baseball bat before bashing in the window of a business and attacking a parked car, according to Bend Police.

Drugs are believed to be a factor in the incident.

It started around 3 a.m. when someone called dispatch saying she had been assaulted by a woman who lit her motorhome on fire at a transient camp on Hunnell Road between Cooley and Loco roads.

Sgt. Tommy Russell said when officers arrived, they found an older Winnebago Chieftain motorhome engulfed with flames. Nobody was inside.

Officers then contacted the alleged victim, a 36-year-old Bend woman.

The victim told officers she let a neighboring transient, 32-year-old Elizabeth Butler, an acquaintance, to sleep in her motorhome for the night because it was going to be cold out and Butler sleeps in a tent.

The victim said she slept in the rear of the motorhome while Butler slept in the front.

Sometime around 3 a.m., the victim said she awoke to the smell of smoke.

She looked out to the main cabin of the motorhome and found there was a blanket on fire.

The woman grabbed the blanket and began dragging it out the side door when she was attacked from behind, Russell said.

Butler allegedly used a metal baseball bat to hit the woman in the back of the head, the back, and the left arm multiple times.  She had no idea as to why Butler was attacking her, Russell said.

The victim then fell out onto the sidewalk and dropped the burning blanket.

She then ran to a neighboring motorhome to get help where paramedics responded to treat her.

The victim was taken to St Charles in Bend where she is being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Another Bend Police Officer who was responding to the fire and assault saw a woman bashing out the window of a commercial cleaning business in the area of Empire and Jamison with a baseball bat.

As the officer turned around to go contact the woman, the officer saw her begin beating on the window and door of a parked Audi Q5 with the baseball bat.

The officer contacted the woman and gave her verbal commands to drop the bat.  Initially, the woman did not comply, Russell said.

She eventually dropped the bat and was taken into custody without incident.

Her clothing was singed by fire, at which time the officer realized the woman with the bat was the suspect from the fire and assault, Russell said.

Butler’s clothing and the bat were seized as evidence in the crimes.

She was taken to the Deschutes County Jail, where it was discovered she had superficial burn marks to the backs of her legs.

She was treated by staff at the jail and lodged on multiple charges including first-degree assault, first-degree arson, first-degree criminal mischief and unlawful use of a weapon.

Officers later learned that Butler had been given a ride by another neighboring transient to the area of 3rd and Empire.

Butler told this witness that someone had a gun and she needed help so they dropped her off near the sheriff’s office, Russell said.

A Bend Fire Arson Investigator responded to the scene. Their investigation is ongoing.

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