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California

A Camp fire survivor lost everything. Then someone stole their insurance payout, police say

Camp fire in Paradise
A home burns during the Camp fire in Paradise, Calif., last year.
(Josh Edelson / AFP/Getty Images)

A woman suspected of embezzling more than $63,000 in insurance money from a 75-year-old Californian whose home burned in last year’s deadly Camp fire was arrested this week, authorities said.

Asbury.jpg
Brenda Asbury, 29, was arrested Tuesday.
(Butte County Sheriff’s Office)

Butte County sheriff’s officials say Brenda Rose Asbury, 29, turned herself in to deputies on Tuesday in Oroville. The Camp fire, which swept through Butte County one year ago, killed 86 people and destroyed 14,000 homes.

Detectives began investigating the case on July 30 and two months later secured an arrest warrant for Asbury, who was living in Tulsa, Okla., officials said. The alleged victim of the scheme was not identified.

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Investigators tried to find Asbury with the help of police in Oklahoma, but were unsuccessful. However, on Tuesday, she showed up at the Butte County Sheriff’s Office on the advice of her attorney and was taken into custody on suspicion of elder abuse, embezzlement and grand theft. She has not been charged but is expected to appear in court Thursday, records show.

It is not clear how detectives linked Asbury to the alleged embezzlement or whether she had any relationship with the homeowner. Public records show Asbury previously lived in Magalia in Butte County and was licensed as a private security officer in Lake County from 2012 to 2014.

Asbury’s attorney could not immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.


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