EXCLUSIVE: Church arson tipster torn about turning in suspects - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

EXCLUSIVE: Church arson tipster torn about turning in suspects

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - A major break in the church arson case came from a friend who turned Bourque and McAllister in to authorities. Her mother had been keeping us updated - naming those suspects nearly two weeks ago. She and her daughter want to remain anonymous but we want you to know she is willingly telling us these details.

We will refer to her as "Amy." Amy's daughter is close friends with Daniel McAllister.

In fact, McAllister and Jason Bourque were staying with some of her family when she began noticing strange behavior. Like the two leaving at night and returning in the morning, reeking of smoke.

"[She started telling me the details about Daniel and Jason sneaking out and committing burglaries and arsons and that she knew it was them because Daniel had talked about it," said Amy.

She says her daughter became nervous when McAllister gave her a Fender guitar as a birthday gift - one she knew must have been stolen from a church.

"She was like, 'Mom, I don't know what to do with this guitar. If I leave it here he's going to get suspicious,'" Amy explained. "She basically decided to come forward...She felt like her Christianity in this place should come first, overcoming, you know, hiding the fact about this guitar that she'd received."

Amy's daughter provided the ATF key information, identifying evidence, and leading investigators to other stolen equipment. Because she is a witness, she cannot speak on camera, but her mother wants light shed on these details, and how difficult it was for her daughter to turn in a beloved friend.

"I sure didn't expect any of them to be church arsonists," said Amy. "[It's] something hateful and cruel, you know, how could you do that? I want to see justice brought, but it saddens me to think that they've wasted their lives on what they did."

She also says the $25,000 reward could go to her daughter's family if Bourque and McAllister are convicted. But that had nothing to do with their decision.

"I knew there was a reward but that wasn't her motivation for coming forward," said Amy. "She did it because it was the right thing to do and because she had integrity."

She and her daughter say their hearts go out to both of the suspects' families. They know they need to be taught a lesson, but since Bourque and McAllister are so young they hope they are not having to pay for this the rest of their lives.

Copyright 2010 KLTV. All rights reserved.

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