UPDATE: Hutch Teen Charged With Arson, Murder Of Mother And Sister

By: KAKE News - Email
By: KAKE News - Email
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Friday, September 27, 2013


A 14-year-old Hutchinson boy has been arrested and charged with murder and arson in connection to a fire that killed his mother and younger sister.

Sam Vonachen was arrested Thursday, and formally charged today. He's facing two counts of murder in the first degree for the deaths of his mother, 47-year-old Karla Vonachen and his sister, 11-year-old Audrey. He was also charged with attempted murder in the first degree of his father, 48-year-old Steve Vonachen, as well as aggravated arson.

Investigators say the fire was intentionally set, and that an accelerant was poured around several rooms on the first floor before being ignited. Sam and Steve Vonachen made it safely out of the home, but Audrey died soon after the fire was extinguished and Karla died later at a Wichita hospital.

Sam Vonachen is expected to make a first appearance in court on Monday. The Reno County District Attorney's Office will also seek authorization to try him as an adult.

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Officials in Reno County report that Karla Vanachen, the mother of an 11-year-old girl who was killed in a house fire early Thursday morning has also died.

The fire broke out shortly after midnight at the intersection of 19th and Main, southwest of the state fairgrounds in Hutchinson. A passerby saw the fire and called 911. Neighbors say the passerby then broke a window and yelled inside the house for the occupants to get out.

Both victims were found in a bedroom on the second floor. Audrey Vonachen, 11, was pronounced dead at a Hutchinson hospital shortly after. Her mother, Karla, was taken to Wichita's Via Christi on St. Francis in critical condition. She died around 4 p.m.

Audrey was a student at Prosperity school in the Buhler School district.

The father, Steven Vanachen, and the couple's teenage son were able to escape without injury, according to the Hutchinson Fire Department.

The circumstances of the fire and death have not yet been made available, but the investigation involves the Hutchinson Fire Department, Kansas State Fire Marshal's Office and the Reno County district attorney. Hutchinson Fire Chief Kim Forbes said that because this is a fatal fire, it is deemed suspicious until they can prove otherwise.

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