Judge sets bail at $2M in arson that killed 2 children

by: KIRO 7 News Staff Updated:

A judge has set bail at $2 million each for a man and woman being held in an arson that killed two children.

The fatal fire injured the children's parents and one other adult near Mount Vernon over the weekend.

Court documents state that Jaramy Chism and Kimbery Hughes are under investigation for starting a fire at the home of Jessica Starr and Bryan Bachofer on Saturday.

Starr's two children, Rose, 8, and Xavier, 6, perished in the fire.

A friend of Bachofer and Starr's, Jacob Motz, was also in the home at the time of the fire; all three sustained injuries from the blaze.

When firefighters arrived at the scene around 2:30 a.m., they found the home fully engulfed in flames; they battled the blaze for hours.



Bachofer and Motz told authorities that everyone in the home was sleeping when at about 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning Motz said he was woken by the sound of fire crackling. When he looked outside, he saw a fire coming from the home's front porch. He woke Bachofer and the two ran downstairs in an attempt to extinguish the fire, but by that time the home was fully engulfed in flames.

At the same time, Starr ran to rescue her children. She was able to get the children to a window to escape, but when she pushed open the screen to the window, she fell to the ground from the second story of the home. The children did not make it out of the home.

"I saw this gal out there," Bob Eaton, who lives nearby, said. "I threw open the door and it was [her]."

"She had some bleeding on her hands," Carol Eaton said. "Her hands were all black and red."

"She couldn't get back up [in the house] obviously," Carol said. "Everything was on fire and she didn't see or hear the kids any more. She was just hysterical."

Bachofer told authorities he suspects that Chism and Hughes set the fire as retaliation for being evicted from the home on July 11. He said Hughes had been repeatedly threatening him in the past two weeks and that on July 8 she told him "I will sue you or burn your house down."

Chism had been working for Bachofer, but Bachofer fired him earlier this month.

On July 12, Chism and Hughes arrived at the home to do laundry; Bachofer called the police and made them leave. Two days later the two returned to the home to pick up their final paycheck and Bachofer told police that was the last time he saw them.

When police located Chism and Hughes on July 15, they saw a gas can in the back of the couple's car. Preliminary testing of the scene of the fire shows that gasoline was used.

The two claimed they had been together all day on July 14, running errands and playing video games. They claimed to be asleep until police located them in a tent in a residential backyard in Sedro-Wooley.

Hughes has a 2014 prior conviction of second-degree arson; she reportedly set her boyfriend's clothing on fire as retaliation for cheating on her.