AUSTIN (KXAN) - A man who hung on for nearly five months after he was allegedly set on fire by his wife has died at Brooke Army Medical Center.
Bimal Patel, 29, died as a results of the burns he suffered on April 17 in the North Austin apartment he shared with his wife, Shriya Biman Patel, 25. She turns 26 in one week.
The Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled his death a homicide.
He suffered from second- and third-degree burns in the incident and was flown by helicopter to the burn center in San Antonio that night.
Shriya Patel, 25, is being held on $1 million bond in the Travis County Jail. She is charged with aggravated assault/family violence and arson, both first-degree felonies. Murder charges are pending.
Police and fire officials launched the investigation in April shortly after they were called out at about 9 p.m. to the Camden apartments on Metric Metric Avenue near Parmer Lane. When they arrived, they found Bimal Patel lying naked on the floor with what appeared to be severe burns to his body. Officers noticed the strong smell of gasoline in the apartment at the time.
Investigators said the wife was inside the apartment when it happened.
Neighbor Rathan Rajendren said he heard what sounded like an argument next door right before the incident. He told police that night that the victim said his wife was giving him a massage when she poured gasoline all over him and set him on fire.
"In 17 years at the fire department, I have seen burns like this but nothing that was premeditated like this," said Austin Fire Department Capt. Andy Reardon on the night of the burning.
Reardon says they found evidence that Shriya Patel started the fire and also evidence that suggest she tried to keep anyone from stopping it. The smoke alarm was disabled and sprinkler heads were covered with plastic bags.
The husband and wife had been married for a year and Shriya had only been in the United States for seven days after coming from India when the burn incident happened in April.
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