The mother of three children killed in the Pahrump fire today was arrested in connection with the fire. From the Pahrump Valley Times: The mother of three children who died in Wednesday morning’s house fire was arrested this afternoon by Nye County Sheriff’s deputies.
Sharon Broadhead is being held in jail on four counts of involuntary manslaughter and three counts of child abuse and neglect causing death. She is being held in lieu of $35,000 bail.
A fire at 3421 Prospector Lane killed 18-month-old Elliott Broadhead, 4-year-old Zachary Broadhead and 5-year-old Brandon Broadhead. A family friend also died. Crystal Smiley, 24, was overcome by smoke while she was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher seeking help.
Sharon Broadhead was brought in for questioning earlier in the day Saturday by sheriff’s detective Joe Close and Mike Kolpak, an investigator with the state fire marshal’s office. A criminal investigation revealed that a fire a couple of months ago was set in the Broadhead home by one of the three children who died on Wednesday. Child protective services officials had investigated the welfare of the children in the home, according to Sheriff Tony DeMeo.
“We were able to identify that there was child neglect and abuse. And because of that, four people lost their lives,” DeMeo said. “We are aware that there was a previous fire a couple of months ago. We are aware that CPS was previously involved with Sharon and the kids.”
The cops believe that one of the kids started the fire with a lighter.
I have some problems with the arrests.
First, why was the mother arrested before she even had a chance to bury her children? It's not like she is a danger to the community or a flight risk. Further, officially at least, there has not been an official cause of the fire. They are still running tests.
The case is also pretty weak and they are using allegations made months ago to file the charges. A child set fire a couple months ago. CPS had investigated the family previously. So what. CPS makes a lot investigations and most of the time there is nothing to investigation. The call to CPS could have been made by a person was pissed off at the family or something minor. But the fact is, that CPS did not take the kids or even monitored the kids- it appears the investigation was closed.
Even if it is true that a child started a fire a couple months ago, it doesn't seemed like it was an ongoing problem. I am sure the parents probably thought the punishment/lecture was enough to deter further behavior. I don't think it is a crime to leave your purse with a lighter in the purse and leaving it on your bedroom dresser. In hindsight, the parents may have done something differently, but that's hindsight.
Unless there is more to the case, this case seems very weak and almost seems vengeful by the Nye Sheriff's Dept. and the DA.
Mean while, a mother is crying in the Nye County jail and will not have a chance to bury her children for an accidental fire that killed her friend and her kids.