Sadie Johnson, 17, Charged After Allegedly Setting Trailer on Fire with Bound Siblings Inside
Angry and left alone to babysit, a 17-year-old girl set her Guadalupe trailer home on fire last week after binding two of her younger sisters together with tape and leaving them inside, investigators say.
The children, thankfully, survived.
Guadalupe firefighters were called to Sadie Johnson's trailer about 5:30 p.m on June 22.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, Johnson initially told rescuers she tried to get her three sisters out of the trailer but couldn't and they were still inside.
She claimed to have fainted after inhaling smoke when she first entered the trailer, which is why she aborted her rescue plans. After regaining consciousness, Johnson initially told police, she ran outside to get a garden hose.
When firefighters got inside the trailer, they found Johnson's 4-year-old sister in the rear bedroom of the house. Two of her other sisters, ages 1 and 2, were found in a hallway bathroom. The two girls were bound with masking tape and gagged.
During a search of the home, Maricopa County sheriffs deputies found a series of green post-it-notes threatening the life of Albert Garcia, the boyfriend of the girl's mother.
In her first interview with police, Johnson claimed to have fallen asleep at the kitchen table before to the fire. She claims she woke up to the sound of a gun cocking. She told police she opened her eyes to find a stranger dressed in black holding a handgun to her face as another stranger dressed in black held a gun to her 4-year-old sister's head.
She went on to say the two men trashed the house. She blacked out when they knocked her to the floor. She said when she came to, the living room couch was on fire and the two men were running out the door. She picked up the gun they left behind and fired a round as they ran out of the house.
After searching the home, however, it became clear to police that the teen's story didn't add up.
She was arrested Monday night and came clean about what really happened.
Following her arrest, Johnson told police that she was upset with her mother, Crystal Dixon, that day, and reached a boiling point after months of alleged neglect. She says she asked her mother to take her to the hospital after complaining of stomach pain. But rather than doing that, Dixon went out with Garcia. The 17-year-old was left to care for her three younger sisters -- a job with which she says she was often burdened and resented.
In a fit of rage, Johnson started trashing the trailer, she told police, breaking the kitchen table and the computer table in the living room. Moving on to her younger siblings, she bound the hands of the younger children with masking tape, gagged them, and shut them in the hallway bathroom.
She then fired a handgun at a beam above the front door and set the living room couch ablaze.
Before Wednesday's fire, police had paid seven visits to the teen's home since April over reports of threatening and intimidation. The hostile green post-it-notes that police found in the house actually came out of the 17-year-old's resentment of her mother's boyfriend.
The teen was booked on counts of attempted manslaughter, kidnapping, arson, and unlawful discharge of a firearm. She is being held on a $450,000 bond.