US & Canada

Juvenile held after Texas special needs boy set on fire

YouCaring Image copyright YouCaring
Image caption Kayden exhibits autistic behaviour, but has not been diagnosed, his mother says

A juvenile has been charged with first-degree arson on a 10-year-old Texas boy with special needs.

Kayden Culp is in an induced coma with serious burns after the attack on Sunday afternoon in Kerrville, 70 miles northwest of San Antonio.

Kerrville's Fire Marshal said the accused, who has not been named, is "responsible for causing the victim's severe burns".

Kayden's mother said burns cover 20% of his body, from his ears to his belly.

His condition deteriorated on Wednesday, according to his family. His organs were failing and he remained on life support.

Image copyright YouCaring
Image caption Kayden is in an induced coma with burns covering 20% of his body. His family posted this picture to a fundraising page

Kayden was playing in a field with two other children when he was doused with petrol and set alight, family members told local media.

His mother, Tristyn Hatchett, told the San Antonio Express-News: "The other boys who were there have been telling kids at school that it was not an accident, that it was intentional."

Kayden has a speech impediment and exhibits autistic behaviour, but has not been diagnosed, say family members.

His aunt, Alike Richardson, told the Express-News: "They make fun of him. He gets beat up in Carver Park every time he's goes up there.

"That's just the way it is. The kids are really mean."