Special needs child on life support after being set on fire

KERRVILLE, Texas -- The Kerrville Fire Marshal said Wednesday evening that a child was taken into custody and charged with first-degree arson in the case of a 10-year-old special needs boy whose family says he was set on fire.

In a statement, the Fire Marshal said the juvenile, whose identity was not released, is "responsible for causing the victim's severe burns."

"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," said Kelly Mack, the victim's aunt.

Kayden Culp took a turn for the worse Wednesday, according to his family. His organs are failing. He remains on life support in an induced coma at University Hospital.

More than 20 percent of Kayden's body was burned, from his ears to his belly button.

Mack said the 10-year-old was playing in a field with two other children when one boy doused him with gasoline and another set him on fire off Wallace Street in Kerrville on Sunday afternoon. The floor of a shed also burned.
The family believes the attack was planned.

"If it wasn't premeditated, it still is attempted murder," Mack said.

Kayden's mother says he exhibits autistic behavior, but has not been diagnosed. He also has trouble speaking and hearing.

"He needs justice," said Ashley White, family friend. "I mean, no kid deserves to go through anything he's going through. At all. Period."

KABB reports that a YouCaring page set up for Kayden Culp had raised more than $16,000 as of Wednesday evening.

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