Was a homeless woman doused in gasoline and set on fire in Delray Beach?
That's a question Delray Beach Police don't want to answer just yet, nearly three months after a homeless woman was severely burned and taken into emergency care, where she remains today.
Back on August 28, Melissa Daniels, known to many on Atlantic Avenue as a frequent panhandler, was taken to the Jackson Memorial Burn Unit in Miami. Nothing was reported at the time, and it wasn't until more than two weeks later that Delray Beach Police confirmed with the Palm Beach Post that the burning happened and that a "hot liquid" was used.
The Delray Beach Police Department says there is an ongoing investigation, but it also tells New Times that no incident report exists. As for any details, that's all under investigation.
Update: Although a records clerk at the Delray Beach Police Department told New Times that no incident or crime report exists for Daniels' burning, a tweet from the Delray Beach PD says that there is -- but it cannot be disclosed because the case is under investigation.
Retired private investigator Virgina Snyder tells us she has been looking into the case, and sources tell her the liquid was kerosene. She also says the burning happened late at night while Daniels was asleep on the sidewalk on Atlantic Avenue in Palm Beach.
Snyder says 60 percent of Daniels' body suffered burns and she had to be put on life support. The Jackson Memorial Burn Unit could not disclose any information about Daniels' burns, but a nurse did say she is still in the hospital and is currently in stable condition.
For Daniels, 2014 hasn't been a good year. As the Post pointed out, police have arrested her a whopping 12 times this year alone and 65 times since 1999. All of her arrests have been for minor drug charges, trespassing, or failure to appear in court.
Her last arrest was on August 10 for trespassing.
Police say they are asking the public for any information about the case.
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E-mail him at Ray.Downs@browardpalmbeach.com.
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