Court file in fire that killed 2 kids: 'I will sue you or burn your house down'
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. -- A man and woman accused in an arson fire on Saturday that killed two children had been evicted from the house that burned only days before, court documents say.
The 31-year-old woman and 24-year-old man are each being held on $2 million bail for investigation of arson and murder.
Two children, a 6-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl, are presumed to have died in the fire.
Court documents say the woman had been threatening and violent to the homeowner.
"I will sue you or burn your house down," court documents say she told the homeowner, Bryan Bachofer, on July 8.
The woman was convicted of second-degree arson 2014. "She stated she set her ex-boyfriend's clothes on fire in a laundry basket. She stated she was mad at him for cheating on her. I later learned from the report that there were
people in the home when she set this fire," a law enforcement officer wrote in court documents.
Bachofer had the man and woman evicted and they moved out July 11. The man had worked for him but was fired, court documents say.
They returned the next day to do laundry, and Bachofer called police to make them leave, court documents say. They returned the day before the fire to pick up a last paycheck.
A renter in the house awoke about 2 a.m. Saturday to the sounds of fire crackling, court documents said. He believed the fire was coming from the porch and had been started on the outside of the house, court documents say.
Fire units were alerted at 2:30 a.m. Saturday. When crews arrived in the 13000 block of Bayview Road, they found the house engulfed in flames.
The children's mother, Jessica, Starr, got the children to a second-story window to get them out, court documents say. But when she pushed the screen, she fell through the window, and the children were trapped.
She fell to the ground and ran to Carol and Bob Eaton's home next door yelling for help.
"She was head-to-toe, [covered] in black soot," Bob Eaton said. "She was cut up really quite badly and burned. She was really in tough shape."
Two men in the home, Bachofer and the renter, also managed to escape. All three adults were taken to the hospital.
Suspicion fell on the man and woman who had been evicted. They were found sleeping in a tent in the backyard of a home in Sedro-Woolley.
A gas can was found their car, court documents said. Court documents say preliminary tests show gasoline was used to start the fire.
Court documents say they acknowledged buying gas but said they had been asleep in the tent from midnight until when officers woke them at 6:30 a.m.