Woman uses Facebook to get ex-husband charged with crime

by: Amy Clancy Updated:


A Covington man is in jail charged with arson, and his ex-wife is taking credit for putting him there – with the help of Facebook.

When Vera Merrill’s SUV suddenly exploded June 12 at her Graham home, Merrill’s said her first thought was of her former husband, Brad Helvy, whom she divorced 18 years

"I have a history with him, of him doing things to harass me," Merrill told KIRO 7 reporter Amy Clancy

Merrill said she and Helvy had also argued hours before the fire. So with no hard evidence, Merrill created a fake Facebook profile for a divorced woman named "Beverly Mason" from Pullman.

She told Clancy she and Helvy became "friends" and that they discussed "things that I knew we'd have in common."

Pretty soon, Merrill "got him to admit what he did," she said.

Helvy wrote on Facebook that he "made thermite and put it in my exes' car," according to charging documents. That admission and cellphone records that placed Helvy at the scene that night were good enough for an arrest, Pierce County Detective Ed Troyer said.

"We don't want people actually physically going after suspects and get hurt, but people find their property online," Troyer told Clancy. "They use social media to find out information on people who have warrants. We'll take that information and use it."

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