Investigation into arson against lesbian couple virtually over

BY Advocate.com Editors

December 10 2002 1:00 AM ET

An investigation into an arson fire that destroyed the residence of a lesbian couple in Missoula, Mont., early this year is essentially over, a Missoula police detective said.

"The case is officially inactive from our perspective," said Steve Ross, captain of detectives for the Missoula City Police.

In the months after the fire, which police initially characterized as attempted murder, focus shifted toward the couple, Carla Grayson and Adrianne Neff. A search warrant application detailed speculation about why one or both of the women might have torched their own home, but the couple were never officially named as suspects.
Both Neff and Grayson have denied setting the fire.

The couple and their child moved to Ann Arbor, Mich., for a year and could not be reached for comment. Their attorney, John Smith, refused to comment.

The fire was set early February 8, just days after Neff, Grayson, and another couple, Carol Snetsinger and Nancy Siegel, joined a lawsuit against the state. In the suit, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Montana, the women say gay and lesbian couples should have the same benefits as straight couples who work for the Montana University System. Grayson and Snetsinger are both university employees.

A district court judge has dismissed the suit filed by the couples, but an appeal to the Montana supreme court is expected.

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