FRANKFORT, KY (CNN/WLKY) – Social media can lead to great new connections, but it can also bring unwanted attention. A Kentucky man faces charges of burglary and arson after allegedly burning down the house of a woman who rejected him on Facebook.
A young mother and her 3-year-old son are left without a place to live just days before Christmas.
“My husband actually pushed the front door open and we had to jump off the front porch. Smoke was just rolling out,” said Samantha Beagle, sister of Joanie Yount.
Beagle and her husband tried to save her sister’s home but it was too late. Police say this was no accident.
“This is one of those tragic situations where somebody is now without a home and for such a minor reason. It’s disturbing,” said Major Robert Warfel of the Frankfort Police Department.
Major Warfel says Yount, 22, was being harassed online by 37-year-old James Graham. He’s now charged with burglary and arson.
“She had some comments posted by this individual on her Facebook page about some pictures she had. She rebuffed those and it’s kind of what set this all in motion,” said Warfel.
“It got to the point that she was very aggravated,” said Samantha Beagle.
Beagle says there was no relationship.
Graham was a friend of a friend and Joanie Yount, a busy single mom, simply wasn’t interested.
“She doesn’t want a relationship, she just wants people to leave her alone. When it comes to stuff like that, either be decent or don’t bother her at all,” said Beagle.
But police say Graham didn’t back off. On November 28th, already in the neighborhood to visit a friend, Graham ended up at her home.
Police say he found an unlocked door, let himself in and then entered Yount’s bedroom, starting a fire that would destroy most of the home.
Beagle says it’s tough to look at, but even harder to imagine ‘what if.’
“I just wonder what if she was in there. What he would have done to her if she was lying in her bed before he set the house on fire,” Beagle said.
Because of smoke and water damage, there are no floors or ceilings in some of the rooms. Yount and her son had to move out. They are now staying with family.
Yount has taken on a second job to help replace the Christmas presents for her 3-year-old that were lost in the fire.