Woman facing criminal charges for lighting fireworks in car found dead

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 | 3:23 p.m. CDT

BALLWIN — A St. Louis County woman facing criminal charges for injuring her sons by lighting fireworks inside an SUV has been found dead.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a relative on Tuesday morning found 44-year-old Kara Koriath dead from a single gunshot wound. Investigators say homicide is not suspected. Investigators said they found after-death instructions inside Koriath's home, along with a will, suicide letters and a recently-purchased life insurance policy.

Koriath was accused of intentionally lighting fireworks while driving along Interstate 270 in November, causing the SUV to catch fire and crash. Her sons, ages 13 and 16, suffered burns and smoke inhalation.

Authorities suspect her motive was to seek revenge on her married lover, who was expected to be driving along the same route.

Court records show that fire investigators found "packages of fireworks strategically placed and tied together with fuses and pipe cleaners throughout the vehicle." Investigators also found consumer-grade mortar shells attached to three headrests and lighter fluid and more fireworks in the glove compartment. They said the floorboard on the driver's side appeared to be soaked with gasoline.

Koriath was arrested the day of the crash on suspicion of driving while intoxicated involving drugs. Police suspected she was impaired by prescription medication. She was free on $200,000 bond at the time of her death.

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