Woman admits starting fatal fire, tells police she had been dealing with stress

    Dana Nachtrab (Outagamie Co. Jail)

    APPLETON, Wis. (WLUK) -- Holding back tears, Dana Nachtrab made her first appearance in an Outagamie County courtroom Monday.

    Nachtrab is now charged with first-degree reckless homicide, arson and bail jumping.

    "Looks like, according to the penalty sections, the defendant is facing over 100 years in prison," said Outagamie County court commissioner, Brian Figy.

    It's at her Deer Creek home a week before, authorities say she started a fire that killed her brother, Cody Nachtrab.

    Firefighters work at the scene of a fatal fire in the Outagamie County Town of Deer Creek March 13, 2018. (WLUK photo)

    According to the criminal complaint, the night of the fire, she sent a text message saying: "I really don't even care if you read any of this, I just need to say it before I literally light this house on fire."

    "She texted what the state believes to be an ex-boyfriend, or another person she knew, indicating she wanted to burn the house down," explained Outagamie County district attorney Melinda Tempelis.

    A short time later, Tempelis says she had gotten into a fight with her husband and was upset.

    "They get into an argument about their relations, and other people they may or may not be seeing," Tempelis said.

    It was then, police say, Nachtrab lit clothing on fire and used it to start the blaze inside the home. At the time, her two-year-old child, husband and brother, Cody, were all inside.

    "She took either a winter sock or winter mitten glove and lit that on fire," Tempelis further explained.

    Her child and husband made it out. Cody did not.

    According to the criminal complaint, Nachtrab cared for Cody, who was developmentally disabled.

    "Her brother did not understand or comprehend exactly was going on and the dangers in the situation and was afraid of the fire; he did not want to leave and ended up dying," Tempelis said.

    As far as what's next in the case, Nachtrab is expected to be in court in two weeks on April 2.

    Her bond has been set at $300,000.


    Editor's note: A previous version of this story misstated Nachtrab's relationship with her husband.

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