A 26-year-old Santa Monica woman is facing murder and arson charges in connection with the death of her 93-year-old great-grandmother.  Police say Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputies detained Victoria Darlington near Joshua Tree National Park until Santa Monica officers could arrive to make the arrest Tuesday.

Darlington is currently held on $2 million bail while she awaits further court proceedings. A family friend told the Daily Press Victoria was living with her great-grandmother, Geraldine Darlington, but left the house the night of the fire.  Police say evidence gathered at the scene led them to believe Victoria intentionally set the blaze.

“We are dealing with an actual murder investigation at this point,” Lt. Saul Rodriguez with the Santa Monica Police Department said.

Rodriguez said Geraldine was still unconscious but still alive when first responders got to the home on the 2600 block of 31st Street in Sunset Park Monday around 9:40 p.m.  Autopsy results have not been released.

The family friend, who asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the case, told the Daily Press Geraldine had grown increasingly frail over the last year.  Geraldine lived in the same house for nearly 50 years before passing away.

Kate Cagle

Senior reporter for the Santa Monica Daily Press