New information about apartment fire suspect

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - Evansville Police held a press conference Friday to discuss the suspect in the fire at the Sugar Mill Creek Apartments.

Police say the suspect, 47-year-old Michelle Hershberger, is mentally handicapped.

According to police, Hershberger was upset with one of her disabled roommates and intentionally started the fire to kill herself and the roommate.

Officials at Deaconess were not legally allowed to admit her for psychiatric care.

ResCare, which had been caring for Hershberger at Sugar Mill, said they would no longer keep her as a patient.

Police say Hershberger was put in the Vanderburgh County Jail to keep her from harming herself or another individual.  Police say jail is the safest place for her right now.

Hershberger is segregated from the general population.

Sgt. Jason Cullum says Hershberger's family was very upset about what happened and are being cooperative.

Cullum says mental health professionals will determine whether Hershberger is able to determine right from wrong, "This woman is still going to have mental disabilities at the end of the day.  She's still going to have the same fight she had every day before all of this started. We feel for their losses, but we could hope thatt they would still have the ability to take a step back and go, 'I'm going to show this woman some compassion and forgiveness. There's things that make us unique as people that make us special, and the people that can step up and go, you know what I've lost'.  However, and go from there, those are great people."

Hershberger is charged with a single count of arson.  Police say attempted murder charges are not likely.

Thursday's fire at Sugar Mill Creek apartments destroyed 9 units and displaced 20 people.

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