Kayden Culp is on life support and is suffering from second- and third-degree burns that cover 20% of his body, his family said. Kayden, who has a hearing impairment and speaks with a lisp, was injured on Sunday and told his family that another boy set him on fire, according to the Washington Post.
Four boys who knew each other were involved in the incident, which took place near a shed, Kerrville Police Chief David Knight said.
Kayden’s mother Tristyn Hatchett told the San-Antonio Express-News that her son had been bullied by the group of boys. “He considered these guys his friends, but they would make fun of him and pick on him and tease him,” she said. Hatchett told the Associated Press that Kayden exhibits autistic behavior but has not been officially diagnosed.
Knight said at a news conference Thursday that the shed was already on fire when another boy tossed a burning gas canister, which inadvertently struck Kayden. “We have no indication that there was any premeditation involved to injure this child,” the police chief said.
Authorities have charged the unidentified boy with first-degree arson, according to the AP. Thousands of people have donated more than $140,000 to an online fundraising page set up to help Kayden's family pay for medical expenses.