New details are coming to light about the incident that left a ten-year-old boy with special needs covered in second and third degree burns.
It was originally reported that Kayden Culp was coerced into a shed by three young boys before being doused in gasoline and lit on fire.
Kayden’s family alleged that he was constantly at the receiving end of merciless bullying, and that this incident was yet another act of ill will towards the ten-year-old. Many onlookers agreed, saying that the boys had premeditated the attack. Kayden’s aunt, Kelly Mack, previously told News 4 SA:
“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.”
On Wednesday, one of the boys was arrested and charged with first-degree arson.
After further investigation, however, police believe that there was no premeditated attack. According to KSAT, Fire Chief Dannie Smith reported that based on their findings, it did not appear that there was “any intent to harm any of the juveniles present.”
They now believe that the shed was already on fire, and that the boys had further fueled the flames with gasoline. Kayden was burned by the flash fire that resulted. Police Chief David Knight explains:
“[That] in turn resulted in a backflash to ignite the container and the contents of that accelerant, which were then discarded by that individual, which inadvertently, according to everything that we’ve developed, struck this child.”
Knight adds that no one had been coerced into the shed, as had been previously reported.
A relative of the boy arrested points out that all of the boys are friends, and that the boy arrested didn’t intentionally set Kayden on fire.
“He didn’t deliberately do this and go over there and throw this gasoline on top of him… They were messing with [gasoline]… and it splashed everywhere.”
Nonetheless, Kayden remains in the hospital in a medically induced coma. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Kayden’s family continues to raise money for his medical expenses. Thus far, they have raised over $200,000.