BUTLER COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - A 17-year-old boy has been charged with aggravated arson for setting a 14-year-old boy on fire and authorities believe the incident was an act of bullying.
On Sunday around 5 a.m., the Butler County Sheriff's Office received a call that the 14-year-old had been burned in the 200 block of Ringling Avenue in Hamilton, a residence in the Countryside Trailer Park. In a 911 call obtained by FOX19 NOW, the caller says the 14-year-old had fallen asleep with a lighter in his hand.
But Detective Jeff Schuster says that's not what happened.
"I don't know how they surmised that he had his hand in his pocket and accidentally ignited himself," Schuster said.
Schuster says the 14-year-old boy was spending the night along with a few other friends at the home. Through further investigation, detectives found that it was a 17-year-old who had come over and lit the boy on fire.
The teens told Detective Schuster that throughout the night, the 17-year-old was bullying them.
"They spoke about the 17-year-old suspect being at the house earlier that night kind of pushing, slapping," he said.
Neighbors, who asked not to be identified, say they witnessed a lot of trouble at the home.
"I have seen them climbing out the window at two in the morning, half-naked girls, under-aged people there at all hours of the night. It's chaos," a neighbor said.
Officials say the teen suffered second and third degree burns on his arms, legs and groin and was transported to Cincinnati's Shriner's Hospital. His condition was upgraded from satisfactory to good Monday night.
“This is disturbing to say the least, and there are a lot of unanswered questions right now,” said Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones.
The case is being investigated by the Butler County Detectives Division and the 17-year-old could reportedly face additional charges.