Two students arrested for murder, arson in connection with apartment fire fatality

Two students arrested for murder, arson in connection with apartment fire fatality

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Jed Barker | Collegian Police tape lines the perimeter of the apartment complex at 820 Sunset Ave. on Friday while officials investigate the aftermath of Wednesday night's fire that claimed the life of Vasanta Pallem, a post-doctoral researcher in the chemical engineering department.

Two K-State students, Virginia Griese, sophomore in biology, and Patrick Scahill, freshman in open option, were arrested Friday and charged with felony murder and aggravated arson in the case of an apartment fire that killed a post-doctoral researcher in the chemical engineering department.

Emergency responders found Vasanta Pallem, 34, unconscious in her apartment at 820 Sunset Ave. shortly before midnight Wednesday evening and transported her to Mercy Regional Health Center, where she later died of smoke inhalation, according to a news release from the city of Manhattan.

According to a news release from the Riley County Police Department, the two are confined on a $1,000,000 bond.

An earlier news release from RCPD said that Scahill was arrested on Wednesday by officers investigating a complaint of criminal damage to property.

He was charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of mushrooms with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, felony possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal possession of a firearm.