Two women in Pennsylvania were arrested Wednesday on attempted homicide and arson charges for allegedly setting fire to a home early Tuesday—nearly killing one person who was sleeping inside.
Misty Dunbar and Michelle Rhoads, both 23, are accused of setting the Mount Carmel home ablaze with a can of kerosene they found under the porch. Their intended target was resident Jason Dillow’s sleeping girlfriend, Kelly Witmer, who authorities said could have died if she hadn’t been awakened by the smoke, according to The Sharon Herald.
In addition to surveillance footage which apparently caught Dunbar and Rhoads running away from the fire, a friend shared an account with police that implicated the suspects in the arson.
According to the Sharon Herald, the friend, Angela Koreisl told police that she was at a bar with the pair early Tuesday before they all went to her home. Dunbar and Rhoads then left Koreisl’s home, allegedly intending to assault Dillow’s girlfriend. When they returned, they reportedly said they had “life-changing news,” allegedly admitting that they poured kerosene on a porch and set the home on fire with a lighter.
WNEP reported that a home neighboring Dillow’s was also damaged on Tuesday. Fire Chief Jack Williams Jr. told The Herald that it took roughly 90 minutes to extinguish the blaze, adding that both homes were completely destroyed.
While authorities have not revealed a motive, the arson suspects and Witmer apparently know each other. The suspects reportedly consoled Witmer, giving her a hug, as the house burned. It is unclear from the report if Witmer had any idea at the time the women were involved with the fire.
Police reportedly said that Dunbar admitted to starting the fire while Rhoads acted as a lookout. Dillow was reportedly at work—and his two young sons were at school—when the fire broke out.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for August 21.
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[Featured image: Michelle Rhoads and Misty Dunbar/Mount Carmel Borough Police]