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Published: Friday, 8/3/2001

Woman tried to arrange `hit' on rival, police allege

A woman charged with pouring a cupful of gasoline on her 3-year-old daughter at a home in Toledo last month was arraigned yesterday on charges that she tried to have her estranged husband's girlfriend killed.

Stephenie Vargas, 25, of Temperance, was charged with complicity to attempted murder. She waived her preliminary hearing before visiting Judge Roger Weiher in Toledo Municipal Court. The judge released her on her own recognizance, but she will be supervised until her next court appearance. The charge will be presented to the Lucas County grand jury.

Police said that on July 1 Ms. Vargas solicited two unidentified people and offered to pay them money to kill Elisa M. Heckart.

A warrant for Ms. Vargas' arrest was filed July 27. Toledo police arrested her Wednesday at the Monroe County sheriff's office, where she was being held on the Toledo warrant. She waived extradition, Toledo police Lt. Rick Reed said.

He said Ms. Heckart received several threats, but he declined to say how many attempts were made to kill her.

Lieutenant Reed said the threats were made after Ms. Vargas was charged July 7 with felony child endangering. She allegedly poured gasoline over her daughter's head and down her back.

Police responded to a telephone harassment call in the 5000 block of Selma Street about the girl's safety and they decided to check on her. They found her at home, covered in gasoline.

Ms. Vargas told police someone drove by in a car and threw gasoline on her daughter while she was in the front yard. Detective Paul Tetuan said the mother allegedly used the gasoline on her daughter to get her estranged husband to pay more attention to them.

The girl was treated at Toledo Hospital.

She was placed in her father's custody two days later. Ms. Vargas was indicted by the Lucas County grand jury on the child-endangering charge.

Ms. Vargas is charged with telephone harassment and menacing for incidents that occurred at a residence in the 5000 block of Selma on July 4.

Vickie Heckart filed charges that Ms. Vargas called her and threatened her safety and threw bricks with threatening notes through the window of her house. Vickie Heckart's relationship, if any, to Elisa Heckart is unknown.

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