Burned boy faces long recovery

Family claims incident was a hate crime
June 15, 2009 On Monday, the boy's doctor talked about his condition and his future.

Joshua Judkins of Hammond, Indiana remains at Stroger Hospital suffering from severe second and third degree burns. His family is praying for his recovery.

Doctors say he will remain in the hospital for at least another three weeks and will need several skin graft surgeries to repair the damage.

"He's actually made some strides in terms of healing a lof of his wounds but will still likely require skin grafting of those wounds. He's got great spirits at this point in time. He's been fantastic in his abilities with regards to participating in his wound care," said Dr. Stathis Poulakidas, director, Burn Services, Stroger Hospital.

The doctor says that daily the boys wounds must be cleaned.

"I don't really think y'all know what it feels like. I watch my son get scrubbed. I wish I could take his place," said Elijah Judkins, father.

"This has been really a lot on him. He's starting to get back into the mode of laughing and smiling a little bit," said Arkeesha Judkins, mother.

Mrs. Judkins says that her son told her that three older white boys lured him into the woods and poured rubbing alcohol on him and then lit him on fire. Judkins says she learned the three boys turned themselves in and maintain it was an accident. However, she believes this was a hate motivated crime.

"This wasn't nothing that happened by chance. This was a hate crime. My son was still standing, burnt, skin hanging. I asked the officer was he going to go recover any evidence. He told me no," said Elijah Judkins.

ABC7 spoke with Hammond Police Chief Brian Miller.

"I spoke to both mother and father ensured them that we would do a full investigation and at the conclusion of our investigation turn it over not only to the Lake County prosecutors' office for review but also to the F.B.I.," said Officer Miller.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.