TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — A Puyallup, Wash., woman whose house burned a day before her hospitalized infant daughter died has been charged with first-degree arson and presenting false insurance claims.

Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist alleged that 37-year-old Melinda Sayers intentionally set fire to her home and then collected insurance money. In a court appearance Friday, Sayers pleaded not guilty.

In court papers, detectives said Sayers this week admitted starting the fire and said she had not wanted her 11-month-old daughter to come home. The premature baby had been hospitalized for nearly a year and was scheduled to be released. The little girl died at the hospital on April 2, the day after the fire.

Sayers’ lawyer, Don Winskil, told the court she had been under tremendous stress and asked that she be released without bail. Court Commissioner Meagan Foley refused, setting bail at $200,000.

(© Copyright 2014 the Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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