Two women face murder, arson charges for deadly Beaverton fire

Celia Schwab, Maria Meisner, jail booking photos

Two women are facing murder and arson charges for an apartment fire that led to the death of a 74-year-old woman in Beaverton.

Maria Lucille Meisner, 55, and Celia Lee Schwab, 63, were arraigned in court last Friday.

Police said Schwab was the caretaker of Kathryn Susan Breen.

Firefighters responded to a fire at Breen's home on the 5400 block of Southwest Alger Avenue the afternoon of Dec. 22, 2016.

Police said Breen was burned in the fire and taken to the hospital. She died on Jan. 24.

Investigators said Meisner lived next door and was friends with Schwab.

"They were buddies they kind of got friendly together and they would go off hours in the car and leave Katie in the house for hours and hours," said one neighbor.

Schwab was Breen's caretaker for several years.

According to neighbors, they witnessed a hostile relationship between Schwab and Breen.

"Numerous times Katie would be in her room yelling help help help Celia help and Celia wouldn't even be here," Sean Daugherty, a neighbor said.

Another neighbor, Teri Bolter, said the same.

"A couple days a week, in the middle of the night we would hear screaming from Katie, from her home and my downstairs neighbor and I would be wondering what is she doing whats going on," said Bolter.

No other details were released by police about the investigation, including a cause of the fire or a possible motive. Court documents state the women, "did unlawfully and intentionally cause serious physical injury to Kathryn Susan Breen by means of a match, a dangerous weapon."

Both suspects face charges of murder, first-degree arson and first-degree assault. Schwab faces an additional charge of criminal mistreatment, while Meisner faces an additional charge of aggravated murder.

Both women pleaded not guilty and remain in the Washington County Jail.

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