Woman set on fire in Azle; boyfriend arrested

06/02/2014 11:49 AM

06/02/2014 11:50 AM

A woman was set on fire Sunday evening in Azle and her boyfriend was in custody after telling deputies that “I lost my mind,” the Parker County sheriff said.

The 37-year-old woman suffered first- and second-degree burns over 30 percent of her body and remained in an induced coma on Monday at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Parker County Sheriff Larry Fowler identified the suspect as Mark Upchurch, 32, of Azle.

He remained in custody on Monday, accused of setting his girlfriend on fire using gasoline and a propane torch in the 1500 block of Riverbend Street in Azle.

Hospital officials summoned deputies shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday from Harris Southwest Hospital in Azle where they were treating the woman with burns on her legs, back, abdomen, forearms, buttocks and genital area.

The woman’s neighbor had driven her to the hospital after seeing her running down a driveway and screaming, “Mark set me on fire!” Fowler said in a news release Monday. The neighbor noticed her skin peeling off and drove her to the hospital, he said.

The neighbor told deputies that the woman had told him that Upchurch had set her on fire and that it wasn’t an accident, Fowler said.

Deputies drove to Riverbend Street and found Upchurch, according to Fowler. Upchurch began walking toward deputies, yelling aggressively at them before being taken into custody.

Upchurch told deputies he knew why they were there -- “because what I did to my girlfriend when I lost my mind,” Fowler said in the news release.

Deputies saw a 2005 black Saturn in the driveway dripping with water and the rear seat interior charred from flames. They also saw burn marks in the yard, Fowler said. Deputies seized two empty gas cans and a propane torch at the home.

Upchurch faces a charge of aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury and was in the Parker County Jail in Weatherford. His bond amount had not been set. He also was being held on warrants out of Arlington.

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