Police: Woman tries to burn down parents’ house over mold, with instructions from God

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LIBERTY, Mo. -- A 37-year-old woman is charged in Clay County, Mo., with arson in the first degree after police say she tried to burn down her parents' Liberty house in June.

In the probable cause document, police say the woman told authorities that she was reading her bible when God told her to kill her parents and burn down the house because of black mold.

Firefighters were called to the home  located between 291 Highway and William Jewell College on June 29. Initially firefighters thought a clothes dryer was to blame for the blaze, but upon seeing the appliance was unplugged, ruled the dryer was not the cause. They listed the fire as an accident caused by careless smoking material.

However, on July 10 an insurance agent called police to tell them about a conversation she said she had with the woman. She said the woman wanted to file an insurance claim.  The agent says when she asked her what happened, the woman told her she was reading the Bible and God told her to kill her parents and burn the house because of black mold.

When police called the woman to talk about the fire they say she said to them, "Do you want me to be honest?" When police said they did, the woman reportedly told them that she started the fire.

They say she repeated the story about reading the Bible and said she claimed she started 'freaking out' and thought she was supposed to start the fire.  Police say she told them she used a lighter to set fire to a shower curtain draped over the washing machine. She told them she did not want to hurt anyone.  According to the charging documents, she told police when the fire alarms started going off in the basement, she went to her dad's bedroom where he was sleeping. She said he was the only person home besides herself.  Police say she told them she tried to get him out of bed, but it took some time, but they did leave the smoky house. She repeated to police that she did not want to kill her parents and said she never claimed she did.

The woman faces a class C felony of arson in the first degree and could face two to seven years in prison.