A mother accused of killing her 8-year-old son and setting their Meriden home on fire with tiki torch oil last year, was in court Tuesday and court records reveal what led police to charge her with murder and second-degree arson.
The fire was started on Nov. 14, 2016 and firefighters who entered the burning house at 13 Davis St. that day found 40-year-old Karin Ziolkowski on a bed next to her 8-year-old son, Elijah Ziolkowski, court records state.
Elijah was unresponsive and emergency crews were not able to get him breathing again.
The medical examiner ruled his death to homicidal asphyxia, which happened before the fire was set. Acute diphenhydramine intoxication from an antihistamine like Benadryl was determined to be a contributing factor.
Elijah’s 40-year-old mother, Karin Ziolkowski, was in critical condition after the fire according to police.
Court records say the fire was set in two locations and there was evidence of tiki torch oil in the basement, a first-floor bedroom and on Karin and Elijah’s clothing. They also say the batteries had been removed from the carbon monoxide detector before the fire.
When Karin Ziolkowski was questioned about what happened, she told authorities she did not recall anything about the day and denied hurting her son, according to court records.
When investigators went through Karin Ziolkowski's social media accounts, they found Tweets that include anger, sickness, crying and sadness emojis and one that said "Why did I have a child?"
Blood work revealed that Karin Ziolkowski also had elevated levels of diphenhydramine in her system.
Meriden police said Karin Ziolkowski was arrested in North Carolina, where she had been living after the fire, and she was back in Connecticut Tuesday.
Ziolkowski's bond was set at $1 million and she appeared in court today.
Elijah Ziolkowski was a third-grade student at the Israel Putnam School.
Enza Adamcewicz, the principal of the school, said Elijah was at the school since kindergarten and the news that he died in the fire was devastating.
"Bubbly kid. You know, loves Star Wars, Legos. ... You know, a normal 8-year-old boy," Adamcewicz said. "He was very social. ... Everybody knew him, knew of him. Big personality and he will be greatly missed."