AUSTIN (KXAN) - A wife is charged with arson and aggravated assault after police said she set her husband on fire in North Austin, sending him to a San Antonio hospital with serious burns.
Shriya Biman Patel, 29, is accused of inflicting second- and third-degree burns on her husband Tuesday night. His name was not released. He remained in critical condition at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio.
Police and fire officials launched the investigation shortly after they were called out to the Camden apartments on Metrric Metric Avenue near Parmer Lane in North Austin.
A call came in around 9 p.m. about a man, who in his 30s, on fire. 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 said the victim told police his wife was giving him a massage when she poured gasoline all over him and set him on fire. However, the wife told police her husband doused himself in gasoline before lighting himself on fire.
Meanwhile, the husband was taken by helicopter to Brooke with severe injuries. On Friday, officials said he is in stable condition.
The Austin Police Homicide Division is still investigating.
Bond for Patel was set at $500,000.
Arson investigators say the premeditation used by Patel was unlike any case they can remember.
"In 17 years at the fire department, I have seen burns like this but nothing that was premeditated like this," said Captain Andy Reardon with Austin Fire Department.
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 have been married for a year and Shriya had only been in the United States for seven days after coming from India.
Wal-Mart surveillance video shows Shriya Patel buying the items used in the attack.
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