24 years later, mom, boyfriend charged with kids’ murders

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GENEVA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A woman and man are accused of intentionally setting fire to a Bangor-area apartment nearly 24 years ago, killing the woman’s two young children.

Krysta McFadden and Clint Dunning each face two counts of open murder in the deaths of 3-year-old Robert Rainey and 5-year-old Amber Rainey.

On Nov. 29, 1992, McFadden’s apartment home in Geneva Township burned down. Robert’s body was found in the apartment after the fire. Amber was rescued from the burning building, but died on Dec. 1 as a result of her injuries.

Michigan State Police Detective 1st Lt. Chuck Christensen told 24 Hour News 8 the MSP Cold Case team started a review of the case about three years ago and focused in on McFadden and Dunning about two years ago. Christensen would not elaborate on what new evidence came to light which led to the recent arrests and charges.

However, according to court documents, an MSP detective testified before a judge in September that multiple people told investigators that McFadden had admitted she and Dunning — who was living with her and her children — planned to burn down the apartment “so people would feel sorry for them in hopes that her children would not get taken away from her” and “because of the burden that her children were causing her and she wanted to be with her boyfriend.” The detective also said that McFadden’s sister told investigators that a few weeks before the fire, McFadden said that her children would be better off dead than taken away from her.

One witness told police that McFadden had admitted that she locked her children in a closet, knocked over a candle and then left to get high. When the witness asked McFadden how she could do such a thing, McFadden replied that she “had to,” the detective testified.

In October, the same detective testified that at least two people, one of whom was McFadden, told authorities that Dunning had said he wanted to burn down the apartment to collect on insurance. According to the detective, another witness told police via a tip line in 1992 that Dunning admitted to having set the fire but that he didn’t mean for Robert and Amber to die, telling the witness “he thought he was going to be able to get the kids out before the first got out of control.”

Information from other witnesses indicates Dunning seems to have returned Amber to the burning building after she was rescued once. One witness, Anthony Johnson, said he pulled Amber from the fire and gave her to Dunning, at which point Johnson left. When he got back, he didn’t see Amber. Amber was found again in the burning building and taken outside by another man.

Dunning was treated for burns to his hands and arms. He initially said he was burned trying to save Robert and Amber, but Johnson said he never saw Dunning trying to help them. The detective testified that Dunning said he admitted he went back into the burning building and exited where Amber was found the second time. He initially said he had to move Amber because there were power lines overhead, but later admitted there were no such power lines, the detective said.

Dunning was in jail in Missouri when the charges were issued and was brought back to Michigan to be arraigned.

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