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5-year-old girl found alive after fatal fire in Bemidji; suspect in custody


A 5-year-old girl who was missing after a fatal fire in Bemidji early Wednesday was found alive Thursday morning, and a suspect has been taken into custody.

She was found at 5:20 a.m. Thursday in a pop-up camper north of Bemidji, the Bemidji Police Department and the BCA said at a news conference.

They arrested a 32-year-old man for kidnapping. He's been booked into the Beltrami County Jail, where he awaits formal charges.

KSTP says the suspect's criminal history includes child pornography convictions.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) had issued a missing person alert for the girl Wednesday, but tweeted Thursday the alert had been canceled.

The fatal fire

The girl was visiting Melissa Norby, a friend of the family, on the night of the fire, KARE 11 reports. But when officials investigated the blaze at the Irvine Avenue home, they weren't able to locate the girl, police said.

Police did find a body of an adult who appears to be the victim of a homicide. Officials didn't identify the victim, but KARE 11 says it was Norby.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, and wouldn't confirm it was arson. They are calling this a "complex investigation."

(Note: As the girl has been found safe, it is typically BringMeTheNews' policy to not identify her or use her picture.)

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