A 10-year-old boy continues to fight for his life in a San Antonio hospital after being seriously burned in a fire set by another minor. That child was taken into custody and charged with first degree arson, a felony. However, authorities now say the incident does not appear to be intentional.
Wednesday evening, authorities announced they arrested and charged the unnamed minor with the first degree felony. In a statement, the Kerrville Fire Marshal said the juvenile, whose identity has not been released, is “responsible for causing the victim’s severe burns,” WOAI reported.
More than 20 percent of 10-year-old Kayden Culp’s body was seriously burned, from his ears to his belly button, said his mother Tristyn Hatchett. The incident happened on Sunday afternoon, October 2. Culp was rushed to University Hospital in San Antonio where doctors placed him in a drug induced coma and on a ventilator.
Culp’s family maintain the attack was planned.
“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,” said Culp’s aunt Kelly Mack, to WOAI. Previously, they stated Culp was purposefully doused with gasoline and set on fire.
Kerrville authorities do not believe the incident was premeditated or that there was any intent to harm any of the four male juveniles “present at the time of the incident on Sunday” when Culp was severely burned.
Thursday morning, Kerrville Fire Chief Dannie Smith, Police Chief David Knight, and Fire Marshal Chris Lee spoke to reporters. They stated they believe what happened was that the boys lit a shed on fire and then threw gasoline on it. Smith reiterated they have not been able to produce any evidence to show there was any intent to commit bodily injury to any of the juveniles involved.
Smith said the Fire Marshal’s office made the determination to charge the youth with first degree arson based on criteria including that the boy in question “committed an offense by starting a fire or causes an explosion with the intent to destroy or damage any building, habitation, or vehicle.” Smith cited the youngster’s intentional “recklessness” in setting a fire, destroying property, and causes another person to suffer bodily injury or death. The investigation remains ongoing. Because juveniles are involved, officers cannot share further information.
Previously, it was reported Culp was a special needs child. According to WOAI, Hatchett said her son exhibits autistic behavior but has not been diagnosed. She said he also has trouble speaking and hearing.
Wednesday evening, WOAI reported family members said Culp’s condition worsened. They said his organs were failing as his body was fighting infections. The boy remained in a medically-induced coma and on life support.
A YouCaring crowdfunding page was set up with a $10,000 goal to help the affected family with medical expenses. As of press time, the site raised nearly $105,000 and received 6,600 shares.
Thursday morning, physicians said the boy’s heart and blood pressure stabilized. Culp’s mother posted an update on the fundraising site.
Kayden is doing a little better today. They have taken him off the epinephrine. He was able to stabilize his heart rate and blood pressure on his own all night. Still on feeding and breathing machines. He is going in for his second dressing change soon. We will know more about the severity of his burns and lung damage afterwards. His swelling seems to be reducing now. The last dressing change caused him to plummet. I will update this afternoon.
And we want to thank… everyone, everywhere for all of the thoughts, prayers and support. I can’t express how grateful we are. Truly amazing. We need the good to outweigh the evil. #teamkayden
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