HOUSTON — A 13-year-old Texas boy was taken into custody Thursday for questioning about an attack in which an 8-year-old boy was badly burned over his whole body.
"So far the young man has admitted to being there when the 8-year-old was set on fire," Montgomery County Sheriff Guy Williams told reporters. His name was not released because he is under 18.
The victim, Robert Middleton, emerged with horrific burns from woods near his home in the small town of Splendora, north of Houston, Sunday evening. Neighbors said he told them an older boy had doused him with gasoline and set him on fire.
Williams said investigators were still gathering evidence and planned to interview other people about the attack.
Hospital officials said Middleton remained in critical condition Thursday but had regained consciousness, could breathe without assistance and was able to speak in a whisper.
Janet Marvin, director of nursing at the Shriners Burns Hospital in Galveston, said if the boy survived he would need to remain in the hospital for 150 days.
He would need reconstructive surgery many times and would probably need psychological counseling for the rest of his life, she said.