More charges possible in Manton motel explosion case


An additional charge that carries a life offense could be on the way for a Wexford County mother accused of causing a motel explosion.

The explosion and fire left Amanda Skardoutos and her two sons badly burned.

Skardoutos plead not guilty to two counts of manufacturing marijuana, one count of maintaining a drug house, two counts of second degree child abuse and one count of lying to an officer.

During a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, Wexford County Prosecutor Jason Elmore, requested that an additional charge of first degree arson be added on.

The arson charge carries a life offense.

Testimony was heard from several witnesses who were there the night of the May 17th explosion at the Green Mill Motel. Those included friends and acquaintances of Skardoutos who lived in or near the motel, as well as several EMT's that responded.

Some recalled how badly Skardoutos' sons, Brian and Marcus, were burned.

Sonja Schuneman, an EMT that responded to the blaze and helped to care for Skardoutos says Skardoutos told her and her partner that, "she had lit a butane tank and that it had exploded."

Family friend, Michelle Peterson, lives just a few homes down the road from the Motel.

She says her children lived in the motel room next to Amanda, and when she heard about the explosion, she went running over.

Peterson said Tuesday she saw Brian and Skardoutos there during the blaze.

"I asked Amanda what happened," Peterson said. "Her exact words were, 'mom I was making my stuff.'"

Peterson went on to say that Skardoutos confirmed what"stuff"meant by saying, "you know, my wax."

Investigators believe Skardoutos had been making marijuana wax, and using butane inside the room where she and her two sons were staying. They believe that's what caused the explosion.

The defense argued Tuesday that none of the evidence presented so far shows what the source of the explosion and fire were.

A Traverse Narcotics Team investigator also testified Tuesday, saying they had found 19 empty butane cans inside the room, a glass extraction vessel, as well as marijuana.

The judge said she needs more time to go over details of the arson charge, as well as another charge of lying to an officer, before she can rule on whether or not the case should move forward to circuit court.

The next court date has not been set yet.

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