Couple arrested for arson after two children die in Skagit County house fire
SKAGIT COUNTY, Wash. – Detectives arrested a man and a woman in a suspected arson that killed two young children in Skagit County.
A 6-year-old boy and an 8-year-old girl died in the fire, which broke out around 2:30 a.m. Saturday on Bay View Road near Mount Vernon.
According to probable-cause documents obtained by Q13 News on Monday, the man who owns the home told investigators he believed the fire might have been started by a couple who recently was evicted from his house and had been threatening his family. He said one of the suspects showed up at the house about a week before the fire and said “I will sue you or burn your house down.”
On Monday, family friend Meagan Bellus showed up to court distraught saying she had babysat for the two children.
“I hope there is some type of justice,” Bellus said.
Bellus says she also knows the female suspect.
“First time I met her was in high school the cops had to come because she was beating the crap out of her boyfriend,” Bellus said.
The female suspect has a long criminal history including a 2014 arson conviction. She’s accused of setting her ex boyfriend’s clothes on fire because he cheated on her.
“She’s lit a house on fire where people were inside before.”
Q13 News spoke to a neighbor who witnessed the fire over the weekend.
“(Their mother) was saying ‘my kids are in the house, my house is on fire, and my kids are in there,’” neighbor Carol Eaton told Q13 News.
Eaton said she was home when her neighbor when the children’s mother ran over in shock, screaming and ringing the doorbell.
“She was totally in soot, black all over her face, some bleeding and stuff, her hands were bloody, I think from the glass when she was going out the window,” said Eaton.
Here's what happened, according to probable-cause documents obtained Monday by Q13 News:
A roommate who was also living in the home heard the fire, woke up and alerted the children's father. They tried to put out the fire while the mother ran to get the children. The mother said she tried to push open a screen to rescue the children, but fell through the window herself.
The fire was too dangerous for a rescue attempt, and the children were not able to escape.
The mother was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with severe burns to the face and hands.
She was listed in satisfactory condition.
"I am thinking about their mom laying in the hospital with their kids gone for nothing," Bellus said.
Authorities found the two suspects in Sedro Woolley living in a tent. They both agreed to an interview. They said they were asleep in their car from midnight until detectives arrived at 6:30 a.m.
Investigators noticed a gas can in the back seat of their car. They also said preliminary tests found that gasoline was used in the fire.
"You have small children involved, it tugs at your heartstrings there is no doubt about it," Skagit County Prosecutor Rich Weyrich said.
The deadline to file charges is Wednesday.
Defense attorneys told a judge that there is little evidence linking their clients to the case on Monday.
"The affidavit speaks for itself and that's what they found probable cause on," Weyrich said.
Both suspects are being held in the Skagit County Jail for investigation of two counts of murder and one count of arson.
Q13 News is not naming the couple because they have not yet been charged with a crime.