Fire Proof

Did cash-strapped Sandy Kemper burn her son alive? The long-awaited trial begins next week.

Terry Farrar remembers how concerned Sandy seemed about her son's academic record.

"I remember getting a phone call from his mom one time," Farrar recalls. "She'd found out that he was doing well and wanted to say that things were good and to get basic updates. She called a couple times. I remember thinking to myself, 'Well, that's really good, they're interested in what's going on.'"

Yolanda Weaver, a friend of Sandy's and fellow employee at Delmar Gardens North, says Sandy's criminal charges also startled her.

Jennifer Silverberg

The blaze began in this unfinished basement, used as a bedroom for Zachary and his mother.
The blaze began in this unfinished basement, used as a bedroom for Zachary and his mother.

"She'd always be saying nice things about her son, about how he was a good kid and how well he was doing in school and stuff like that."

Cathy Bono, administrator at Delmar Gardens North and Sandy's boss, refuses to describe her ex-employee or comment on her charges.

But Bono doesn't hesitate to sing Zachary's praises. He was Delmar Gardens' star junior volunteer for at least a year before he died, she says.

"Some kids, they come in and you pretty much have to baby-sit them. Never Zachary. Never Zachary. He was wonderful: a gentle, gentle soul.

"I think he would have come out of life decent."

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