Police Investigating Whether Man Was Nearly Burned to Death Over $6,000 Debt

Police are investigating whether a 21-year-old man hospitalized last week with burns over 70-percent of his body was set on fire over an unpaid debt, possibly related to people smuggling.

At about 4:00am on April 14th, officers were called to Swedish Hospital on First Hill after the man showed up at the ER, covered with burns.

According to the report, the man had disappeared from his apartment on April 13th. The next evening, a family member found the man in the apartment “burned severely, wearing only his boxer shorts.”

The report says the victim told his family that he “was taken from the apartment by several men because he owed them money.” The men transported him to an unknown location then “poured gasoline on him and set him on fire…to teach him a lesson,” the report says.

The man was unsure where he was taken, and said all he remembered was being in a “big open empty field.”

According to the report, family members told police the victim owed $6000.00 to a man involved in transporting two of the victim’s family members to the United States from Mexico.

The report says the man’s relatives had just arrived in Seattle hours before he was discovered in the apartment.