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PROVO — A third person involved in a 2011 fire at the Boulder Apartment complex in Provo has died.
Now police are investigating whether the death can be attributed to injuries sustained from the arson fire that killed two other women. If so, prosecutors could file an additional murder charge against Yvette Kimber, 46.
Jeanette Spahr, 52, died on Saturday, said friend and former neighbor Linda Powell.
"It was a shock to me. I thought she was doing OK," she said.
Provo police and the Utah County Attorney's Office confirmed Tuesday they had been made aware of the death and were in the process of investigating whether it could be connected to the March 14, 2011, blaze that resulted in the deaths of two residents.
Kimber was charged with two counts of murder and one count of arson, all first-degree felonies, after prosecutors say she intentionally set a large apartment fire in an apparent failed suicide attempt.
She was also charged with aggravated assault in connection with injuries Spahr sustained when she jumped from a second story window to escape the fire. Doctors had said her injuries were permanent. Powell said her friend suffered "a lot of burns" on her hands and legs.
Now, police will conduct an investigation to determine if the assault charge should be elevated to murder.
Powell said Spahr never really recovered from the incident.
"She was trying. She had a lot of therapy and stuff she was doing, physical therapy. She was in a wheelchair. She didn't walk too good. Her legs were real, real super bad. And so were her hands," she said.
Powell would see Spahr in court, or at the nursing home where she was being cared for, or sometimes when she went out to breakfast with her.
But the last time she talked to or saw Spahr was a couple of months ago, Powell said. She disappeared and few people knew what had happened to her, she said. It was believed she went back into the hospital or another care center.
"I really kept good tabs on her, and all of a sudden she disappeared. I kept calling her on a number she gave me, but the phone said, 'not in service,'" Powell said.
During those conversations, Powell said Spahr admitted she was sad over what had happened.
"She told me, 'I'm really angry with Yvette. The thing that hurts me the most is I lost two good friends,'" she said. "She was was really upset about that."
Karen Murray, 67, and Catherine Crane, 63, both died in the fire at the Provo complex, 750 S. 650 West.
Spahr said she was the last one out of the building the night of the fatal blaze. After having to evacuate out of her second-story unit, she was hospitalized with burns and a broken pelvis.
"It's been a really tough six months," she said in August at a court hearing for Kimber. "I'm just now really able to start walking with my walker."
Powell said Spahr's body will be cremated and her ashes taken out of state where her family will hold a memorial service.