Court docs: Mother charged with arson, accused of getting daughter to set fire to mobile home in Lebanon

Barbara Craig

LEBANON, Ind. – The mother of a 19-year-old who admitted to setting fire to a mobile home earlier this year now faces an arson charge as well.

Police were called to the Elm Park Mobile Home Community around 11:15 a.m. on Sept. 25 in response to a fire at a mobile home owned by Barbara Craig. When crews got the fire under control, Ryann Barton—Craig’s daughter—approached police and said she’d set fire to the home.

Police arrested Barton on an arson charge. She told police she lit a candle, put it in a cup and then used the flame to catch a blanket on fire.

During an interview with police, Barton said she didn’t “want to throw anyone under the bus” and informed police that the mobile home was infested with cockroaches and bedbugs. She also said her mother wanted to move to Georgia.

Barton made “several comments implicating that Barbara [Craig] had knowledge and prepared things for her to set the fire,” according to court documents.

An acquaintance sent investigators an email saying that Barton sent a text message asking if he knew anyone with knowledge of how to set fires. The acquaintance said Barton “would do anything for her mother.” The source also said Craig had a tremendous amount of influence on her daughter.

During a later interview, Barton told police that her mother wanted her to burn down the trailer during the previous weekend. Craig hoped to get enough money to move to Georgia, Barton said, telling investigators that she suggested her mother set up a “Go Fund Me” account to solicit donations.

Finally, she told her mother, “Fine, I will do it. I will set your [expletive] house on fire,” according to court documents.

She told police her mother had everything set up for her when she arrived. Craig had put paper and Benadryl in the sink, telling her daughter that she thought Benadryl “was used for cooking meth and that it would help with the fire.” She also gave her a pair of gloves.

Barton said she lit the candle, placed it in a cup and lit a blanket on fire. She then told her mother that they needed “to get the [expletive] out of here” after she walked out of the trailer. They drove to a local McDonald’s and heard sirens when they arrived.

Police found gloves in Craig’s car, including one with a burned thumb. Police later retrieved deleted text messages between Barton and Craig in which they discussed a plan to leave for Georgia.

Craig was arrested Monday on an arson charge and taken to the Boone County Jail. Barton, who also faces an arson charge in the case, was released from jail on Oct. 3.