A man “heard voices” before he poured gasoline in a vase, stuffed it with paper towels and set it on fire inside his Plainfield home, causing a blaze that killed his grandmother, according to reports from the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the death of 87-year-old Teresa Collado was a homicide caused by injuries she suffered in a fire March 22 at her home in the 1900 block of Glacier Ridge Drive.
Collado’s grandson William Vera, 32, has been charged with causing the fire that killed her. He has been indicted on charges of first-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, arson, aggravated arson and criminal damage to property.
Vera is being held at the Will County jail on a $1 million bond.
About 76% of Collado’s body suffered burns from the fire, according to the medical examiner reports.
She also had soot in her nostrils, ears and the airways of her respiratory system.
Vera, who is “mentally challenged” and lived with Collado, apparently “heard voices,” according to the medical examiner reports.
He poured gasoline in a vase, put paper towels in the vase and set it on fire on the first floor of the residence, according to the reports.
Collado’s nurse and Vera were able to escape the residence and neighbors called 911 when they saw the fire, according to the reports.
After Vera was arrested, he told Will County Judge Chrystel Gavlin in his first court appearance on March 26 that he “did this because I have a mental illness.”
A judge ordered a fitness evaluation for Vera on May 20. The document was impounded on June 24 and a hearing on Vera’s fitness is scheduled for July 30, according to court records.
Joliet police officers and paramedics from the fire department responded to Collado’s home about 1:30 p.m. March 22. They found Collado laying on her bed on the home’s second floor, according to the medical examiner reports. She was unresponsive.
Collado was taken to Amita Presence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Joliet and then to the burn intensive care unit at Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood the same day.
Collado was pronounced dead at the hospital about 6 p.m. March 22.
Joliet detectives interviewed Vera and determined that Vera set a fire inside the home and left before emergency crews arrived, police said.