Mom once hailed as 'Superwoman' pleads guilty to arson, making false insurance claim

TACOMA -- A Puyallup mom who was praised six months ago as a "Superwoman" for her alleged bravery in saving her son from a house fire and explosion pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree arson and making a false insurance claim in the case.

Melinda Sayers, 38, a former nurse, said in Pierce County Superior Court, "This experience has humbled me and I am truly sorry for the people I have hurt."

Sayers admitted she set the April 1 fire that destroyed her family's rental house in Puyallup South Hill. She also admitted to submitting an insurance claim she knew was false.

She was sentenced to nine months in jail and four months’ probation.

It was a steep fall from grace.

Just six months ago, Sayers was called a hero by firefighters and her community after she claimed to have bravely saved her son and herself by jumping out a window at their house to escape a fire and explosion. Sayers appeared all over the local media circuit, giving interviews about the dramatic rescue.

Her community even came together and donated thousands of dollars to the family, only to learn the entire thing was a scheme.

"I have every intention of continuing with my mental health counseling to not only make myself a better person but a better mother," she said in court Friday.

She also said that she could "grieve my child, who I never had a chance to grieve because I've been here."

Sayers' young daughter, who was hospitalized before the fire was set, died a day after Sayers was arrested for arson.

To read our earlier stories on this case, click on these >>>

Daughter dies day after 'Superwoman' saved son from explosion

Police: Mom praised for saving son from explosion admits she started fire