Daughter booked on suspicion of arson, murder in death of 64-year-old West Valley City mother

One person died in a fire early Monday, June 5, at 6946 West and 3710 South in West Valley City. Photo: Gephardt Daily/SLCScanner

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah, June 5, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — A daughter has been arrested in connection with a Monday fire that claimed the life of her 64-year-old mother in West Valley City.

The victim has been identified as Kathie Thomas, who died after being trapped in her home, at 6946 W. Bonnie Arlene Drive (3710 South).

Her daughter, 47-year-old Loralie Thomas Querbach, has been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on suspicion of aggravated murder, aggravated arson, and four counts of attempted aggravated murder. Police say she admitted to starting the fire. Querbach, who also goes by the last name Thomas, is being held on a $1 million bond.

“A joint investigation conducted by West Valley City Police and West Valley City Fire has revealed that Loralie Thomas set a fire inside the home with the intention of killing her mother,” said a news release from West Valley City.

According to a probable cause statement, West Valley police contacted Querbach, “… and she made a spontaneous statement saying that she confessed,” the report says.

Officers transported Querbach to the police station and read her the Miranda Rights.

“Post Miranda, the A/P (accused person) admitted to starting the fire. She also stated that she started the fire in front of the decedent’s bedroom, knowing the decedent could not get out of her door or window. The A/P also stated that she was aware that four other persons were in the home, and that they were all sleeping. She stated that she made no effort to wake them up and warn them of the fire. All four persons were able to exit the home without injury.

“A preliminary examination of the house was able to confirm that the origins and cause of the fire was consistent with the A/P statements.”

West Valley City Battalion Chief Jeff Fox said Monday morning that crews had the fire knocked down pretty quickly — within 10 or 15 minutes — and went inside to conduct a search.

“We found a person in the basement, who had been sleeping and didn’t really know about the fire,” Fox said at the scene.

They got the man out safely, Fox said. Another adult and a child also were able to self-evacuate. The home was a total loss, Fox added.

There was a considerable police presence at the scene early Monday morning, which Fox said is standard for any fire in which there is a fatality, in case something unforeseen comes up in the investigation.

“We have a little bit of history responding to this home,” he added.

A relative of Kathie Thomas posted a video on social media of the victim’s bedroom after the fire. It appears below, with permission. It may be disturbing to some viewers. Below that, see a photo gallery.

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