Special-needs boy set on fire by bullies he thought were friends
A 10-year-old special-needs boy was on life support after bullies allegedly lured him to a field, doused him with gasoline and lit him on fire on Sunday.
Kayden Culp of Kerrville, Texas, has burns over 20 percent of his body from his ears to his belly button, and his organs are failing, according to a YouCaring page set up by the boy’s family to cover his health care expenses.
As of Thursday afternoon, Kayden’s family had raised over six times their $10,000 goal.
One unidentified child has been charged with arson following the incident and is “responsible for causing the victim’s severe burns,” according to a statement from the local fire marshal.
He is one of three boys — ages 9, 10 and 11 — who were taken into custody in the grisly attack, reported Fox.
One alleged attacker “had issues being destructive and disruptive,” Kayden’s aunt Tanya Kasper told the station.
“His mom even made the comment that she wasn’t able to handle him,” Kasper added.
The heartbroken family believes the victim — who exhibits autistic tendencies and has trouble speaking and hearing — was intentionally targeted.
“The other kids are saying that he was going to be riding his bike like he always is, my nephew Kayden is going to be riding his bike, and they said we’re going to grab him and take him inside and burn him,” Kayden’s aunt Kelly Mack told News4 San Antonio.
“If it wasn’t premeditated, it still is attempted murder,” Mack added.
The boy’s mother, Tristyn Hatchett, 29, says she thinks her boy’s alleged assailants should be “incarcerated” and charged with murder.
“He considered these guys his friends, but they would make fun of him and pick on him and tease him,” Hatchett told the Houston Chronicle.
“He was usually the brunt of that kind of joke, but he kept playing with them,” she added.