Man Sets Woman, Three Kids on Fire
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
SEATTLE — A car crashed in flames after the gun-wielding driver doused his estranged girlfriend and three small children with gasoline and set them on fire early Wednesday, authorities said. All five died.
Antigone Allen (search), 18, who recently filed an assault complaint against the man, survived for about nine hours at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle following the crash at an intersection near Bonney Lake, a small town east of Tacoma, Pierce County sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer said. She managed to tell investigators what happened before she died.
"She was very brave and talked to detectives this morning," Troyer said.
Around 1 a.m., a resident reported hearing a crash and seeing two adults completely on fire as they stumbled across the road.
Allen told police the man pulled the gun after he and the others got into the car, then doused them with gasoline and flicked a lighter to set them on fire as he drove, Troyer said.
At some point during the ordeal, the man fired a few shots at the woman, said Troyer, who didn't know whether the bullets hit her.
Firefighters found the bodies of the children in the back of the overturned car, which was severely burned. The 6-month-old boy, 11/2-year-old boy and 21/2-year-old girl were the children of either the man, the woman or both, Troyer said.
Troyer said the woman, who lived in the Parkland area with her mother, filed an assault complaint in recent days, and a deputy was assigned to the case, but the woman failed to follow through.
"They were in the process of getting back together or breaking up, off and on," he said. The woman's relatives indicated there had been "some unreported domestic violence (search)" before she made the complaint, Troyer said.
One relative told detectives the couple were married; another said they weren't, Troyer said.
The 24-year-old man was pronounced dead on arrival at Harborview. At the scene, he was incoherent but the woman managed to give some preliminary information, authorities said. His identity was not immediately released.