7-year-old severely burned after boy douses him with nail polish remover and sets him on fire
The boy, Julien Sandlin, suffered internal injuries from inhaling fumes and smoke, and skin grafts are a strong possibility
A seven-year-old boy was hospitalized with severe burns to his face and upper body after he was doused with nail polish remover and set on fire with a candle, allegedly by an eight-year-old boy who lived in the same neighbourhood.
The shocking incident took place on August 6 at the Hawthorne Place apartment complex in Independence, Missouri. The boy, Julien Sandlin, suffered internal injuries from inhaling fumes and smoke, and skin grafts are a strong possibility — the vicious attack has left him nearly unrecognizable.
His mother Ashley Lyons wasn't at home at the time of the incident — but Julien was with an older brother and another adult. A neighbor ran out with a wet towel and rolled Julien on the ground, according to The Kansas City Star.
It is not clear why the other boy threw the flammable liquid on Julien.
“This child basically dumped nail polish remover all over my son,” Lyons said. “My son kept saying ‘Stop. What are you doing?’ Julien kept telling him to leave him alone and that’s when he decided to burn him.“
Lyons said the other boy’s mother was present when the incident happened but did not help her son.
Julien was immediately rushed to the Children’s Mercy Hospital and underwent surgery to salvage the skin on his face and arms. "The burns were so bad that they had to go in immediately and do surgery and scrape his face and all of his skin," Lyons said.
Doctors told her that it could take years for the skin to grow back and the skin pigment may be affected. There's also a possibility his lungs could collapse, his mother said.
“It’s a very painful process for him,” Lyons told The Kansas City Star. “There is a lot of anxiety. There is a lot of anger. There is a lot of confusion. He’s trying to maintain the best that he can, for a 7-year-old.”
Lyons told WDAF the complex has a notoriously high crime rate in Independence and that, despite a recent increase in law enforcement personal around the area, crime has not subsided.
"It's got the highest crime rate in Independence. Unfortunately, they’re not doing nothing to help the families and security and making sure that everyone feels comfortable and safe in their home," Lyons said.
Police are investigating the incident but refuted claims from Lyons the complex was overrun with crime.
Graphic photos of Julien posted online show him lying in a hospital bed, eyes shut, with extreme burns on his forehead, across his nose and cheeks, and over an ear. One photo shows one of his arms wrapped in a bandage.
“We had to reassure him that he was not ugly,” Vicki Test, Julien’s grandmother, told Fox News. “He’s a beautiful baby inside and out. I love my grandson so much, no matter what he looks like.”
Lyons describes her son Julien as vibrant, fun-loving and compassionate. The single mother-of-three has since started a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Julien’s escalating medical costs and to get enough money to afford to move out of the area for a “safe place to live”.