Officials, family at odds in case of burned Kerrville boy

Boy severely burned in fire not intentional

KERRVILLE, TEXAS -- Kerrville officials held a news conference Thursday to discuss the investigation surrounding a disabled boy who was badly burned in a shed fire incident Friday. 

But details revealed by police and initial reports from family members appear to be conflicting.

The family of 10-year-old Kayden Culp reported Wednesday that he was intentionally set on fire in what may have been a bullying incident.

However, Kerrville officials said they have not been able to prove intent in the fire so far.

"Based on the results of our preliminary investigation, it does not appear that this event was premeditated or that there was any intent to harm any of the juveniles present," Kerrville Fire Chief Danny Smith said.

>>> Disabled child in coma after being set on fire; one arrest made

Officials also said that the victim and the other three children involved in the incident "all knew each other" and were "all friendly with each other."

But family members tell KENS 5 that Kayden was only friends with one of the children and was not known to hang around the other two.

"They weren't friends," said Tanya Kasper, who is Kayden's aunt. "At least one of them we know about had a past with him. He didn't like Kayden."

Kasper said that it wasn't uncommon for Kayden to be bullied by peers because of his condition.

“He wore a hearing aid, talked with a lisp… I mean, he was challenged from the get-go," she said.

Smith said that "based on the criteria of the law," only one of the three other kids involved has been charged with arson, a first-degree felony. He would not say whether any further charges were expected.

"As we moved forward with the interview process, we were able to determine that this juvenile that was charged was the one that introduced the accelerant to the already existing fire in the shed that precipitated the injury to the injured juvenile," Kerrville Police Chief David Knight said.

The family is calling for the arrest of all of the boys. Kasper said that the family still believes that the incident was intentional.

Tristyn Hatchett, Kayden's mother, said in a Facebook post that she is actively seeking legal help for Kayden. Kasper confirmed that the family is seeking a criminal attorney in the incident and is starting a petition.

Kasper said that Kayden received second-degree burns from the top of his belly button to his ear. She said his left arm is still dressed and is entirely burnt down to his hand.

Kayden remains in a medically-induced coma Thursday to alleviate the pain associated with his burns. It was not immediately clear whether Kayden was able to share his perspective on the incident before he was placed in the coma.

(© 2016 KENS)


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