A woman arrested for allegedly starting a deadly apartment fire in Aurora made her first court appearance Tuesday.
Around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 24, calls started coming in about a fire at a three-story multifamily apartment building, located at 15400 E. Evans Ave., according to Aurora Fire Rescue. The fire was under control by about 2:30 a.m.
Multiple people had to be rescued. Medics evaluated nine patients, and three had to be taken to hospitals. Among the three transported was a 5-year-old boy, who was later pronounced dead at the hospital. His family later identified him to Denver7 as Abner Salmeron-Bautista, Jr.
Alondra Michel, 37, was arrested following interviews with numerous witnesses, and after investigators examined physical evidence from the scene of the fire.
Police said Alondra was involved in a domestic violence incident with a resident on the main level of the apartment building and allegedly set something inside of the apartment on fire, which quickly spread to adjacent units, including the second-story apartment where Abner was found.
Michel appeared in court for the first time virtually from the jail Tuesday, wearing a face mask and orange jail shirt. She requested a Spanish interpreter.
Michel has been charged with:
- First-degree murder — extreme indifference
- Second-degree murder — felony murder
- Child abuse- knowingly or recklessly causing death
- Second-degree murder (15 counts)
- First-degree arson (13 counts)
- Third-degree assault- knowingly or recklessly causing injury
- Two sentence enhancers for committing a violent crime causing death or serious bodily injury
Judge Shay Whitaker began the hearing by addressing a protection order. The judge stated per the order, Michel cannot harass, communicate or intimidate any victims or witnesses. Michel's attorney, Stephen McCrohan, said Michel will sign it once it is presented to her in person at the jail.
Prosecutors asked for a no-bond hold.
McCrohan asked that investigators preserve their notes in this case. The judge said he would enter an order that officers and law enforcement must preserve their notes.
The arrest affidavit is suppressed, per officer request. Prosecutors supported this suppression. The judge said he will review an order to un-suppress the affidavit Tuesday. The defense has until Feb. 4 to file a response to that request.
Abner's mother, friend and sister attended the hearing via the phone, according to the prosecutor. The family wants justice for Abner and all the other families displaced by the fire.
"I don't wish bad on her or anything like that. God has a plan for her. But she needs to suffer. She needs to suffer," Amairani Ramirez, Abner's aunt, told Denver7.