The mother of a 13-year-old boy who says he was set on fire by two teens said Monday that her son is having a difficult time after he suffered first-degree burns.
"It's hard for him," the boy's mother told KCTV5 Monday. "It's hard for us as a family having to deal with this."
Other media outlets have identified the boy's mother. KCTV5 is not doing so because the boy is a minor and no one has been charged.
Part of the police investigation has included attempting to verify the veracity of the boy's claims.
This prompted the boy's mother earlier this month to complain that police were treating her son as a suspect.
"It's very frustrating because I feel like we're being brushed off and there's nothing that is happening for us," the mother said Monday.
But in a news conference held last month, detectives said what the boy experienced was a particularly heinous crime.
The case drew national attention last month because the boy is white and he said the two teen boys who set him on fire were African-Americans.
Kansas City Police Sgt. Stacey Graves said Monday that the investigation is ongoing.
"This is not an incident we take lightly," Graves said. "Detectives have reached out to the community and members of the school district in the course of this investigation to learn as much as they can about what occurred and may have led up to the assault and they are still doing that today."
The boy says he was walking home from East High School when two teens he didn't know began to follow him.
According to the police report, the boy said he made it the front porch of his home on Quincy Avenue when one suspect physically barred him from entering. The second suspect grabbed a red gallon gasoline can and said, "This is what you get."
The second teen then used a light to ignite the gasoline, which "produced a large fireball burning the face and hair" of the victim, according to a Kansas City Police Department report.
Other media outlets have reported that one of the suspects said, "You get what you deserve, white boy."
That was not in the police report, and the boy's mother had spoken publicly with KCTV5 before Monday. As a result, KCTV5 did not previously report that statement.
The mother explained Monday that her son confided in her what the suspect said while he was in the hospital. She said he didn't tell police those specific words because he was too upset at the time, which is why it wasn't reflected in the police report.
The boy's allegations have drawn particular attention across the country in the wake of the shooting death of a Florida teen.
The Kansas City case pales in comparison to the death of Trayvon Martin, the local boy's mother said. But she said it is a good reminder to look out for children.
"It's a horrible tragedy and my heart definitely goes out to Trayvon and their family," she said. "I hope they get answers to everything they want. But we do too here in Kansas City want all the answers we need to help us here to make sure the city's not as violent anymore."
If you have any additional information, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
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