Autistic Texas Boy Allegedly Set on Fire by Other Children
A 10-year-old special needs child from Kerrville is in a medically-induced coma and struggling to survive after being lured into a shed, then doused with gasoline and burned by three other children ages 9 to 11.
FOX News reports that Kayden Culp, was riding his bike Sunday when he me up with another child. The child, who Kayden reportedly considered a friend, led him to a field where two other children were waiting.
According to San Antonio's WOAI-TV, Kayden was lured into a shed, where one child reportedly doused him in gasoline before another set him on fire.
Kayden was admitted to San Antonio's University Hospital with first and second-degree burns to 20-percent of his body from his ears to his navel.
Kayden's mother - 29-year-old Tristyn Hatchett, posted an update on her son's condition to the family's YouCaring crowd funding page Sunday, October 9.
"Kayden is progressing. His lungs are still fighting off infection, but he is able to take his own breaths," the update read. "If not for his skin graft surgeries they would be able to take him off the ventilation. His vitals have been well for 2 days without much assistance. He wakes up often, he is fighting with all his might. He will pull through this."
One of the children, whose name and age have not been released, was taken into custody Wednesday evening after the Kerville Fire Marshal determined that child was responsible for Kayden's injuries. Police have not commented on the alleged involvement of the other two children.
The child has been charged with first-degree arson, but Kayden's family believes stronger charges are in order because the attack appears to have been premeditated. Kayden's mother says her son exhibits autistic behavior, though he has not been formally diagnosed with the disorder. His family believes the children who attacked him targeted him for this reason.
“He considered these guys his friends, but they would make fun of him and pick on him and tease him," Kayden's mother told the Houston Chronicle. "He was usually the brunt of that kind of joke, but he kept playing with them.”
Meanwhile, a friend of Kayden's family has started a YouCaring fund raising effort to support Kayden's parents, who are spending time by their son's side in the hospital and missing work. They have three other children, and friends are concerned about their financial well-being.
If you'd like to donate, visit youcaring.com/tristyn-hatchett-662011.
Kayden's family is also accepting cards from those who wish to show their support and give what comfort they can at the following address:
1610 Goat Creek Rd.
Kerrville, TX 78028