A woman accused of setting fire to an abortion clinic in Wyoming weeks after it opened was arrested Tuesday after a nearly yearlong manhunt.
The Department of Justice said Lorna Roxanne Green, 22, of Casper, was arrested by Casper police and agents from the FBI and the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Green is believed to be the suspect caught on camera setting fire to the Wellspring Health Access Clinic in Casper on May 25, 2022. The clinic, which was scheduled to open on June 12, 2022, was to offer OB/GYN care, gender. -certifying custody and abortion procedures, the DOJ said.
Casper is Wyoming’s second largest city and the site of frequent anti-abortion protests. The building was being renovated and would be the only full-service abortion clinic in the state.
WYOMING PROMOTED ABORTION CLINIC SUSPECT SEEN IN NEW VIDEO CARRYING GASOLINE INSIDE BEFORE FIRE
A fire-damaged Wellspring Health Access clinic is cordoned off on May 25, 2022, in Casper, Wyo. (AP Photo/Mead Gruver, file)
On the day of the fire, witnesses told authorities they heard windows breaking and saw a person leaving the area with gasoline and a black bag in hand, Casper police said.
Security footage released about a month later showed a woman carrying what appeared to be a red fuel canister running through the building before the fire. No one was injured, but the clinic suffered smoke damage and broken windows, which delayed its opening.
A few weeks ago, on March 3, Casper police announced that an anonymous donor in the community was contributing an additional $10,000 toward the ATF’s $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Casper police Lt. Jeff Bullard encouraged community members with information to come forward, adding that “reasons” for setting the fire should be ruled out because people were put at risk.
“It’s important to recognize that, regardless of the purpose or reason for setting the fire, arsonists put members of our community in direct danger,” Bullard said. “First responders, including firefighters, police and paramedics, were immediately rushed to extinguish the fire and prevent it from spreading to neighboring buildings. Additionally, residents and tenants of the occupied apartment complex, just feet away from the fire, were left reeling from the damage.”
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A photo released by the Casper Police Department shows a person holding a gas can before a Wyoming abortion clinic was set on fire. (Casper Police Department)
That’s when tips started coming in, leading authorities to Greene.
“Now that a suspect has been arrested, we can continue our singular focus on providing the Casper community with quality reproductive health care in a safe and compassionate environment,” Wellspring President Julie Burkhart said in a statement to the AP.
The clinic’s grand opening was pushed back to April 2023, but is now in limbo after Gov. Mark Gordon allowed a new law banning abortions under most circumstances to go into effect without his signature. The only exceptions are cases of rape or incest that are reported to the police, or if a woman’s life is in danger.
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The AP reports that Teton County District Judge Melissa Owens suspended the ban for at least two weeks on Wednesday after abortion rights advocates said the law is harmful to pregnant women and their doctors.
They also say it violates the state constitution, citing an amendment that says Wyoming adults have the right to make their own health care decisions. Republicans pushed back by enacting a ban that says abortion is not health care.
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An arsonist is seen holding a gas can inside a Wyoming abortion clinic before setting it on fire last year. (Casper Police Department)
Green is scheduled to appear in federal court in Cheyenne on Thursday.
If convicted, he faces a minimum of five years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000 to $250,000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.