Weatherford Democrat

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June 4, 2014

Burned woman expected to be brought out of coma soon



A woman in critical condition after being doused with gasoline and set on fire by her boyfriend was expected Tuesday morning to soon be brought out of an induced coma.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler said investigators hoped to soon speak with the 37-year-old woman for the first time about the incident that left her with first- and second-degree burns covering about one-third of her body. 

Mark Morgan Upchurch, 32, was arrested Sunday and charged with aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and, as of Tuesday afternoon, was being held on $100,000 bond in the Parker County Jail. 

The woman’s screams reportedly attracted the attention of a neighbor in the 1500 block of Riverbend Street near Azle around 7 p.m. Sunday. The neighbor told authorities he came out of his house and met the woman running down the driveway, screaming, “Mark set me on fire!”

She reportedly asked to be taken to her mother’s house but he saw her skin peeling and, instead, transported her to a hospital in Azle. 

He later told deputies that, while en route to the hospital, the woman told him that Upchurch poured gasoline on her and set her on fire. 

Screaming can be heard in the background of a 911 call made by a nurse at the hospital after they arrived. 

The woman was taken by helicopter to Parkland Hospital in Dallas due to the burns on her legs, back, abdomen, arms and groin. 

Upchurch has not provided an explanation for the incident, according to Fowler. 

However, when he met deputies on the property, he allegedly said, “I think I know why y’all are here – because what I did to my girlfriend when I lost my mind.”

Based on evidence at the scene, it appeared that Upchurch set her on fire while she was still in the vehicle and used a water hose to put out the fire in the vehicle but the woman was left to extinguish the flames on her own, according to Fowler. 

Responding law enforcement officers reportedly found a large burned area in the yard, as well as a black Saturn car with a charred back seat interior that was dripping with water. 

A butane lighter and a gas can were also located nearby, according to court records.

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