Charges dropped against second suspect in fatal Skagit County fire

Arson suspect Kimberly Hughes appears in Skagit County Superior Court on Monday, July 17, 2017.
Arson suspect Kimberly Hughes appears in Skagit County Superior Court on Monday, July 17, 2017. Skagit Valley Herald via AP

Skagit County prosecutors have chosen not to file Superior Court charges against the woman they believe set a fire in a Bay View Road house that killed two children and injured three adults.

“The state has made a determination that there is currently insufficient information to file charges in Superior Court at this time,” prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula said in an email.

Prosecutors believe Kimberly Marie Hughes, 32, burned down a house July 15 in the 13000 block of Bay View Road.

The blaze killed Rose Mihalovits, 8, and Xavier Strawn, 6, and injured Jessica Starr, Bryan Bachofer and Jacob Motz.

Hughes was being held in Skagit County Jail on a magistrate’s warrant charging her with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson.

She was released from custody Friday.

Kaholokula said her office is still investigating Hughes and can bring charges against her in the future.

According to court documents, Hughes and her boyfriend, Jaramy Le Chism, were evicted from the house July 8, and Hughes subsequently threatened to burn it down.

Documents also state Hughes published posts on Facebook, including “this time, I think I deserve vengeance.”

She and Chism were arrested in Sedro-Woolley on the evening of July 15 after law enforcement observed a gas can in Hughes’ car.

Police believe an accelerant such as gasoline was used to start the fire.

By charging Hughes on a magistrate’s warrant in Skagit County District Court, prosecutors were given 30 days to file charges in Superior Court, where felony cases are tried.

The state also charged Chism in District Court, but dropped those charges against him July 28, while continuing to investigate.