Facebook Unfriending Sparked Iowa Arson Attack, Cops Say

Women's friendship allegedly broke down over a birthday party plan.

November 3, 2011, 10:43 AM

Nov. 3, 2011 -- A Des Moines, Iowa, woman has been arrested in an arson attack on the home of a former friend who had quarreled with her and unfriended her on Facebook, according to a published report.

Jennifer Christine Harris, 30, of Des Moines, is being held Thursday at Polk County Jail on $100,000 bond on a charge of first-degree arson, a jail spokeswoman said.

She was arrested after the Oct. 27 fire at the Des Moines home of Jim and Nikki Rasmussen. The early-morning fire broke out in the garage of the Rasmussen's home, police and neighbors said, and led to the collapse of the garage roof.

"It was ablaze at 1 a.m. It was just totally engulfed," said neighbor Dominic Formaro.

Harris — who was maid of honor at the Rasmussen wedding, according to the Des Moines Register -- is a teacher's associate at a local elementary school.

Nikki Rasmussen told the Register that she and Harris' friendship dissolved when they argued while trying to plan a birthday party for Harris. Harris then began to disparage her on Facebook, she said.

"I unfriended her and blocked her so I couldn't see what she was saying," she told the paper.

The Rasmussens woke up and escaped unharmed from the fire as it began to melt the siding on their house.

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