crimesider

Sam Vonachen, Kansas teen, accused of intentionally setting fire that killed mom, sister

CBS affiliate KWCH
(CBS) HUTCHINSON, Kan. - Sam Vonachen, a 14-year-old Kansas boy, is charged with murdering his mother and younger sister by deliberately setting fire to the family home in Hutchinson Thursday, reports CBS affiliate KWCH.

Vonachen was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his mother and 11-year-old sister, one count of attempted first-degree murder of his father, and aggravated arson, reports the station.

Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder says an accelerant was poured around several rooms on the first floor of the home and ignited. Schroeder says there is reason to believe the crime was premeditated and that he intends to seek authorization to try the teen as an adult, according to the station.

The teen's sister, 11-year-old Audrey Vonachen, and his mother, 47-year-old Karla Vonachen, were transported to a hospital after police responded to reports of a fire at the home just after midnight Thursday. They later succumbed to their injuries.

Sam Vonachen is also charged with the attempted murder of his father, Steve Vonachen, because he was home at the time of the incident but managed to escape.

The 14-year-old was scheduled to appear in court Monday for a detention hearing, but he waived the hearing. He is being held at Bob Johnson Youth Shelter, a juvenile detention center in Hutchinson, KWCH reports. 

Friends of the teen say he was a wrestler and was well-known in the 9th grade. They say they are in disbelief over the accusations against him.

"A lot of kids are friends with him, really liked him. He always talked about his family. No negative comments. He always had a good time with them," friend Dallas Crawford told the station.

Authorities said a motive has not been determined in the crime, Reuters reports.

  • Stephanie Slifer

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