SANTA MONICA (CBSLA) — A woman has been arrested in connection with a Santa Monica house fire earlier this week in which her 93-year-old great grandmother was killed.
Victoria Renae Darlington, 26, was taken Tuesday afternoon in Riverside on murder and arson charges.
A pile of charred furniture and twisted metal sits outside the home, located in the 2600 block of 31st Street. According to Santa Monica police, the fire broke out Monday before 9:40 p.m. in an attached garage. Santa Monica Fire Department crews responded to find the victim, Darlington’s great-grandmother, unconscious inside the house.
She was rushed to a hospital where she later died. Her name has not been released. Her exact cause of death was also not confirmed, pending an autopsy.
“It’s just a loss to this whole community,” neighbor Nancy Patterson told CBS2. Patterson said the victim had lived on the block for more than five decades.
“She was just so gracious to all of us in the neighborhood,” Patterson lamented. “I’ve known her for over 40 years, and we’re all heartbroken.”
Darlington lived in the home with her great-grandmother, Patterson added.
“I saw her (Darlington) that day and waved to her,” Patterson said. “She didn’t acknowledge me, but maybe she didn’t see me too well.”
The motive for the murder remains unclear, but police and neighbors said the suspect has mental health issues.
“I’m sure if Victoria had not heard voices, or whatever it was that happened, she would have never harmed her great-grandmother,” Patterson posited.
Officers said they had been in contact with Darlington before, but not for any violent incidents.
She is being held on $2 million bail.