A 10-year-old boy with special needs was burned by bullies who pretended to be his friends. That’s according to Kayden Culp’s mother. A YouCaring page set up by his family says that Culp has burns on over 20 percent of his body. The fundraising page also says that his organs are failing. At the time of writing the page has raised over $100,000, far above its goal of $10,000.
The boy’s family say that Culp was lured to a shack in the town of Kerrville on the afternoon of October 2. He had been under the impression that he was playing with three boys, ages 9, 10 and 11. At the shack, the bullies doused Culp in gasoline and set fire to him.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. One Unnamed Minor Has So Far Been Charged In Relation to the Burning
A statement from authorities in Kerrville, Texas, just outside of San Antonio, said that an unnamed minor had been arrested. The press release said that the unidentified person is “responsible for causing the victim’s severe burns.” Culp’s aunt, Tanya Casper, told Fox News that one of the bullies at the center of the investigation “had issues being destructive and disruptive.” Casper added, “His mom even made the comment that she wasn’t able to handle him.”
So far the juvenile has been charged with arson but Culp’s family are hoping the charges could be upgraded.
Speaking to the Houston Chronicle, Culp’s mother, Tristyn Hatchett, 29, said, “He considered these guys his friends, but they would make fun of him and pick on him and tease him. He was usually the brunt of that kind of joke, but he kept playing with them.”
2. Culp Lives With Autism
KENS 5 reports that Culp used a hearing aid, had a lisp. His aunt, Tanya Kasper, said “He was challenged from the get go. And for him to face this new challenge, it’s going to be overwhelming.” In a separate interview, Kasper told Fox News that her nephew was “hyperactive” and was “easily picked on every day.” She adds, “He has a very good personality. It just takes patience to deal with Kayden.”
On October 6, Culp’s mother provided an update on his condition via YouCaring saying:
Kayden is doing a little better today . They have taken him off the epinephrine. He was able to stabilize his heart rate and blood pressure on his own all night. Still on feeding and breathing machines. He is going in for his second dressing change soon.
We will know more about the severity of his burns and lung damage afterwards. His swelling seems to be reducing now. The last dressing change caused him to plummet. I will update this afternoon.
And we want to thank… everyone, everywhere for all of the thoughts, prayers and support. I can’t express how grateful we are. Truly amazing. We need the good to outweigh the evil.
The update was accompanied by the hashtag, “TeamKayden.”
3. His Family Believe He Was the Victim of ‘Attempted Murder’
Culp’s family are adamant that the victim was targeted because of his autism. Another of his aunts, Kelly Mack, told News4 San Antonio, “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. If it wasn’t premeditated, it still is attempted murder.”
Meanwhile, Tanya Kasper, told Fox News, “All the kids are talking, saying, ‘Hey, they set out to do it on purpose.’ We want to keep in mind that these are kids, and they do need help. We just want the proper justice done.”
4. Kayden’s Case Is Causing Uproar on Twitter
Since news of the horrific incident broke, there has been outrage on Twitter about Culp’s case. Here are some of the most impassioned messages:
5. In the Summer of 2016, Culp’s Mother Was at the Center of Fundraising Efforts for a Local Family Who Lost Their Home
In July 2016, Culp’s mother helped to raise nearly $10,000 for Donya Young and her family after their house was destroy by a fire. A local report on the fire said that Young had just finished paying off the home eight months before the fire. Young told the newspaper that her ex-husband had canceled the family’s home insurance prior to the fire.