Friday, April 22, 2011

Elkhart, Indiana: Tristan Guffey, age 15, dies after lighting himself on fire.

Tristan Guffey at a younger age

By Clifton French (
7:41 p.m. EDT, April 22, 2011

An Elkhart teenager has died after suffering severe burns in a fire that happened Thursday evening in the 1200 block of Rice Street.

Tristan Guffey, 15, was air-lifted to a hospital in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

The victim had a severe form of autism. According to fire investigators, he was playing with matches and lighter fluid when he caught himself and his home on fire.

Despite the efforts of some strangers who managed to put out the fire that was burning the teen, on Friday he passed away.

"I wish I could have actually got here sooner to help him out. Maybe I could have saved his life," said Drake Newton. "I really don't know him, but I care for him."

Drake Newton and his nephew Derek were driving by, becoming two of the first to help Tristan when he ran out of his house, his entire body covered in flames.

Drake and Derek ripped his burning clothes off, stopping the fire that was burning him.

Now that Drake knows the boy has died, he wishes he could have done more.

"I wish I could have taken that pain myself instead of him going through that."

The tragedy has hit the entire Elkhart neighborhood. People who knew Tristan remember a happy boy who loved Legos and Transformers.

"He was really nice, because he would always say hi to me and we didn't even know each other," said Hannah Duncan.

Duncan and her friend were walking around the neighborhood when they saw the fire, catching the chaos on their phones.

"We saw him and he was on a stretcher…and he was completely black. We saw his mom screaming…"

Now, for those who witnessed the fire, they are still shocked that the young boy is gone.

"I can't even put it in words right now."

Tristan and his guardian, who he called his mother, were the only two who lived in the house. WSBT talked to a friend of the family who told us Tristan's guardian is back from Kalamazoo, but she does not want to speak to the media right now.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cushing, Oklahoma: Blake Murrell, age 4, drowns in duck pond

Blake Murrell, age 4

Cushing Police: Body Found In Pond Is Missing Autistic Child
Body Pulled From Pond
POSTED: 1:48 pm CDT April 19, 2011

CUSHING, Okla. -- Cushing police confirmed to Eyewitness News 5 that the body found in a local duck pond was that of an autistic boy who was reported missing on Tuesday.

Investigators said the child, who was unable to speak, was reported missing sometime after noon.
Blake Murrell, 4, was last seen wearing blue pants with a green stripe down the side.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Cochise County, Airzona: 12 year old boy dies in fire, found under bed

12 year-old killed in overnight house fire
Posted: Apr 02, 2011 2:46 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 02, 2011 2:46 PM EDT
Brian Pryor

COCHISE COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Authorities are investigating a house fire that claimed the life of a 12 year-old boy overnight.

Carol Capas with the Sheriff's Office said that they responded to the trailer home in the 400 block of Purdy Lane after 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

Crews from the Naco, Bisbee, and San Jose Fire Department responded, as they arrived they observed two subjects outside the home. The father was seen trying to re-enter the burning home searching for his 12 year-old autistic son.

Once the fire was under control, firefighters searched the scene and found the 12 year-old partially under the bed deceased. The father told investigators that the son evacuated with the family but became confused and ran back into the burning home.

The American Red Cross is providing emergency aid to the family and provided them a place to stay. The Bisbee Fire Department also provided the family a care back with necessities and a pre-paid credit card.

Investigators have not determined the cause of the fire but are looking at the electrical system as a possible cause.

BISBEE, Ariz. (AP) — An autistic Arizona boy is said to have alerted his father about a fire in their mobile home early today, but then ran back inside after everyone had safely escaped. The father says his 12-year-old son appeared to be confused. Sheriff's officials say the home in Bizbee was fully engulfed by the time fire crews arrived.