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Woman killed in mobile home fire remembered as ‘beautiful person’

Updated January 28, 2022 - 4:05 pm

A woman killed in what Las Vegas police said was an intentionally set mobile home fire Wednesday was described by a close friend Friday morning as “a beautiful person.”

The Clark County coroner’s office said Janae Kachelmeyer, 39, of Las Vegas suffered fatal injuries in the 4:10 p.m. fire at Echo Park, 1322 S. Mojave Road.

“A very cheerful person,” her friend, Robbynne Smith, said Friday in a phone interview. “She didn’t communicate real well with people because she was deaf and couldn’t articulate words.”

Police said the fire was started as a group of people were quarrelling inside the mobile home near East Charleston Boulevard. Police said Tiffany Willis, 37, of Las Vegas confessed to starting the blaze by lighting a mattress on fire.

Willis is being held at the Clark County Detention Center on charges of murder, attempted murder and first-degree arson. Senior District Judge James Bixler ordered her held without bail on Thursday.

Kachelmeyer suffered burns over nearly 100 percent of her body and died at University Medical Center some seven hours after the fire. Before her death, Smith organized a fundraiser for Kachelmeyer on GoFundMe, describing Kachelmeyer as “a beautiful woman who already in life has been through so many obstacles.”

After Kachelmeyer’s death, Smith wrote on the GoFundMe that her friend will be forever missed.

“Janae was a beautiful loving person and friend,” Smith said. “I personally say she will be terribly missed but never forgotten.”

In a phone interview, Smith said Kachelmeyer mostly communicated with others by writing out what she wanted to say. The Las Vegan said she’s shocked at the details of how her friend was killed.

“It’s just not right what happened,” Smith said. “Personally I think they need to let the punishment fit the crime. It’s so sad.”

Along with Willis, Keshaun Wynton and Arnold Copeland were taken into custody by police. All three had outstanding misdemeanor warrants from local jurisdictions.

Willis and Copeland were in a dating relationship and friends with Kachelmeyer and Wynton, according to a Metropolitan Police Department arrest report. Willis arrived home on Wednesday, and Copeland confronted her about being unfaithful to him with Wynton, the report said.

Wynton and Kachelmeyer were lying on a foam mattress on top of several wooden pallets. Willis became upset and walked over to Wynton and Kachelmeyer and said, “I’m gonna set it on fire,” and walked away, according to the report.

Willis was overheard asking for a lighter and then bent over the mattress, about 5 feet from Wynton and Kachelmeyer, the report said.

“The mattress and bedding immediately became engulfed in flames,” police wrote.

When questioned by police, Willis initially blamed Wynton for starting the fire. But after she was told that people heard her asking for a lighter, the report said, Willis started crying and said she was not trying to hurt anyone but wanted to scare Wynton.

She said she used a black Bic lighter to start the fire, which police found in a nearby dumpster, according to the report.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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