A 7-year-old Missouri boy suffered severe burns to his face and upper body after an 8-year-old boy doused him in nail polish and then set him on fire.
The incident took place in Independence earlier this week in the apartment complex where both boys live. As USA Today reported, the older boy attacked Julien Sandlin and lit him on fire with a candle. The nail polish remover caused the boy’s body to break out in flames, leaving him with severe damage to his skin and internal organs, which may now need skin grafts.
The boy’s mother was not home when the incident took place, but another neighbor saw the boy on fire and raced to him with wet towels to put out the flames. Julien’s mother, Ashley Lyons, said that the older boy’s mother was present at the time of the incident but did nothing to stop her son’s attack or to help Julien once he was on fire, even though there was a bucket of water nearby.
“This child basically dumped nail polish remover all over my son,” Lyons told The Kansas City Star. “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.”
The boy was rushed to a hospital, where doctors said his lungs could still be in danger of collapsing. They also said it could take years for his damaged skin to grow back.
“It’s a very painful process for him,” Lyons said. “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.”
The boy’s mother has started a GoFundMe page to help with medical costs and to fund them moving out of the apartment complex. The fundraiser has brought in more than $26,000 in the first three days and drew supportive messages from people across the country. Julien’s mother also shared several pictures of the horrific burns the 7-year-old suffered, which appeared to leave large patches of skin on his face melted (warning, the pictures in the link above may be difficult for some readers).
The 8-year-old boy who allegedly burned the 7-year-old was not named. It was not clear if the older boy or his mother would face charges for the attack.