Woman set on fire and left to die looks forward to life ahead

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by Rucks Russell / KHOU 11 News

khou.com

Posted on August 22, 2012 at 11:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Aug 23 at 11:36 AM

HOUSTON—A woman who was set on fire and left to die asked how someone could do such a thing to her as she spoke out Wednesday for the first time.

“I want to know why,” said Melissa Burch. “Why did they go to this extreme? Why did they take it so far?”

Burch was brutally beaten and set on fire in a Channelview mobile home last March.

Authorities arrested three of her acquaintances for the crime. Garrick Hastings and Thomas Martin were charged with aggravated assault. Anita Pena was charged with aggravated kidnapping. Each of them will face a judge next month.

Authorities said the suspects attacked Burch because they thought she had stolen money from them.

“You don’t hurt anybody like this,” said Burch. “It’s almost worse than being shot. I almost could have died for something so nothing.”

Somehow Burch managed to make it out of the mobile home and cry for help. She suffered third-degree burns to over 80-percent of her body and remained in a medically induced coma for two months.

Several surgeries later, Burch awoke to a life forever changed. She lost her house, her job and almost everything she owned. But she’s grateful to be alive, and looks forward to the days to come.

“I want to get married. I want to just be happy. You know, I want to live my life,” she said.

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