Crime & Courts

19-year-old charged with murder, arson in connection with fatal Indian Trail fire

Union County authorities at the scene of a fatal house fire in Indian Trail.
Union County authorities at the scene of a fatal house fire in Indian Trail. WBTV

A 19-year-old woman has been charged with first-degree murder and arson in connection with a fatal Indian Trail house fire Wednesday, Union County authorities said Thursday.

Monica Kimberly Rivera was charged in the case, the Union County Sheriff’s Office said. She, her sister and the female victim were the only three people at the home in the 8000 block of Mill Grove Road at the time of the fire.

The victim was in her 60s, authorities said.

At 4:32 p.m. Wednesday, deputies were dispatched to the site for a call about a disturbance regarding a person with a knife. When they got there, they found smoke coming from the roof and tried to get the people in the house to safety.

They got two of the people out but were unable to rescue the third because of the heat from the fire, the sheriff’s office said. The third occupant eventually was removed from the burning home and airlifted to a Winston-Salem hospital but died on the flight.

Three deputies were taken to a local hospital for treatment related to smoke inhalation, and have been released.

Rivera and her sister had been living in the home with the victim, authorities said. The victim’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

The fire happened two days after Rivera’s birthday. In July, she was arrested in Union County on a charge of assaulting a government officer/employee; that case is pending.

The cause and origin of the fire remains under investigation. The fire is being investigated by the county fire marshal, the sheriff’s office and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The State Bureau of Investigation is aiding the sheriff’s office in its work to determine what happened at the home before the fire.

Rivera remains in Union County Jail without bond, and has a first court appearance set for Friday.

Adam Bell: 704-358-5696, @abell