Ashley Lyons and her seven-year-old son, Julien, live in an apartment building on Hawthorne Place, located in Independence, Missouri.

According to Lyons, the apartment complex has a “notoriously high crime rate.” Although security has been enhanced in recent months, crime has not decreased in the area.


Sadly, according to Fox 4, her young son has reportedly been one of the latest victims.

Lyons told Fox 4 that on August 6, Julien was playing with one of his friends outside of their apartment when the friend doused Julien’s face with nail polish remover and used a candle to ignite a flame.

She told The Kansas City Star:

“This child basically dumped nail polish remover all over my son. My son kept saying ‘Stop. What are you doing?’ Julien kept telling him to leave him alone and that’s when he decided to burn him.”

Lyons wasn’t home at the time of the incident; Julien was reportedly in the care of another adult and an older brother. A neighbor who allegedly saw it happen quickly ran outside with a wet cloth to extinguish the flames.


Julien was quickly rushed to Children’s Mercy Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to “salvage” the skin on his face and arms.

Lyons recalled:

“I had received a call when I got to court that my son was being rushed to Children’s Mercy Hospital from a child drowning my son in fingernail polish remover and lit him on fire on purpose.”

Lyons said of the burns:

“The burns were so bad that they had to go in immediately and do surgery that they had to scrape his face and all of his skin.”

Julien suffered severe burns to his face and upper body. Some of his internal organs were affected by the incident as well. Lyons said that the healing process has been “very painful” for her son:

“We really don’t know because he inhaled the flames, that the smoke deteriorated inside his nostrils. It will take three to six months to find out if the lungs could still collapse, if we’re going to have to do skin grafts. …

It’s a very painful process for him. There is a lot of anxiety. There is a lot of anger. There is a lot of confusion. He’s trying to maintain the best that he can, for a seven-year-old.”

She added that Julien will now spend the “rest of his life” recovering from the burns:

“[Doctors are] talking anywhere from 2 to 3 years just getting the skin growth back on his skin. That’s not including the pigment or the color of his skin. … The hospital is trying to release him soon, and we’re coming up with a home plan but there’s no home plan. This is not safe.”

His grandma explained they now have to “reassure [Julien] that he was not ugly.”


She said:

“He’s a beautiful baby inside and out. I love my grandson so much, no matter what he looks like.”

In response to the incident, a spokesperson for the Independence Police Department released a statement to Fox 4:

There is nothing from this isolated incident that I believe is indicative of crime in the apartment complex. IPD has two officers assigned full-time to work in the Hawthorne Place Apartments and additional officers are assigned to the complex during other hours when those two officers are not there (7 days a week coverage). Our officers have a great working relationship with both management at the complex and the citizens who live there. They’ve made great strides in working together to both prevent crime and address issues when they arise. Officers assigned to Hawthorne have told me they have definitely seen a reduction in crime and calls for service since implementing those efforts.

Lyons started a GoFundMe account to help raise money for her son’s medical expenses and so that she can move her family out of the complex and into a safer area.

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