Family Members Fear Arson Suspect

Posted On March 20, 2012

Vanessa Dean

Hamilton Co. Sheriff’s Office

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – Relatives of a Hidden Valley woman say she is a danger to herself and others.


Last October 13, Vanessa Dean allegedly set her home on Alpine Drive on fire in an attempt to kill her four-year-old son. The child was saved from the burning, smoke-filled home by Dean’s mother-in-law and neighbors. Firefighters would find an empty gas can inside with signs the flammable liquid had been poured throughout the home’s basement.


Dean, 41, was arrested January 20 on charges of Attempted Murder, Arson, and Neglect of a Dependant. She has been out of jail since a $2,505 bond was posted by her husband, Christopher Dean, on January 24.


Family members knew she was mentally ill. Dean’s sister, Rachel Walsh, took her to Community Mental Health Center about a month before the house fire.


In a letter submitted to Dearborn County Circuit Court judge James Humphrey on March 13, Walsh said relatives believe Dean has not been taking her medication and is not being supervised.


Walsh said in the letter she tipped police to Dean’s whereabouts when a warrant was issued for the arson suspect’s arrest.


“Ever since then she has been harassing me and my family,” Walsh said. “I am letting you know that she is still sick and needs to be either on Home Incarceration or under constant supervision.”


On three occasions, Dean has confronted her family. In one instance, Walsh believed Dean had put a cigarette burn on a door outside her family’s home.


In another instance, Walsh accuses Dean of filing a false report with the Cleves Police Department stating that Walsh vandalized Dean’s vehicle.


“I would like someone to have record that she may be a threat to herself and possibly others,” Walsh wrote.


In February, Dean’s attorney motioned for a defense of mental disease of defect. At least two psychologists will evaluate Dean. The case is currently set to go to a jury trial on June 4.


A hearing had been scheduled for March 15 to determine whether Dean’s husband would have guardianship over her. The outcome of that hearing was not immediately available.




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