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O.C. woman is accused of trying to burn family

She doused her husband and three children with lighter fluid, police say.

February 28, 2007|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

A woman accused by Orange police of trying to set her husband and three children on fire as they slept remained in custody Tuesday while investigators sought an explanation.

Hyang Sun Lee, 39, was arrested early Monday after she put her three children -- ages 2, 7 and 9 -- on the same bed as her sleeping husband and doused them with lighter fluid, said Sgt. Dan Adams.

The husband awoke and confronted Lee while she was lighting a piece of paper with a plastic long-nozzle barbecue lighter, Adams said.

After a brief struggle, police said, the husband wrestled the lighter away and extinguished the paper.

Neither the father nor the children were injured.

"We think the only reason he woke up was because he was splashed with lighter fluid," Adams said.

Lee, a homemaker, didn't offer any explanation and was "very calm" at the time of her arrest, Adams said.

As news of the arrest filtered through the Southland's Korean American community, it offered a grim reminder of a string of violence last year in which three Korean fathers killed their children, including one who set the family SUV on fire, killing his two children inside.

"We're trying to find out the motive too," said James Goo, a senior reporter for the Korean Times newspaper in Los Angeles. "We've had horrible incidents like this, but with fathers."

Lee's arraignment is scheduled for today. She has been booked at Orange County Jail on charges of attempted murder and is being held without bail.

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david.reyes@latimes.com

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