Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Mother Sets Daughter on Fire in Louse Treatment Gone Horribly Wrong

Shauna Suggs

Shauna Suggs

An Oklahoma mother is behind bars after dousing her daughter with gasoline to get rid of some pesky lice in a home remedy that went almost as badly as one could expect. The child caught fire and wound up in a Tulsa burn unit with extensive burns to her upper body, while the mother wound up in police custody.

It’s not a well-known remedy for lice, but dousing with gasoline or kerosene is not unheard of, though one would think that given the obvious risks, the array of non-flammable remedies available at any supermarket or drug store would be a preferable alternative. Shana Suggs, however, must’ve thought that gas made sense and would be cheap and easy, and maybe it could have gone okay.

What she forgot however, when she poured gas all over her daughter’s head, was that an open flame nearby is enough to set gas alight if it comes into contact with the fumes. It all seems to have happened pretty quickly, the fumes caught on a nearby space heater and set the child alight.

Suggs’ live-in boyfriend, Dylan Webster, tried unsuccessfully to put the fire on both mother and child out in the bathroom, then managed to smother the fire using a heavy coat he got from the bedroom.

There were four other children in the home at the time of the accident; none was hurt.

The couple sent the other children to a relative’s home and took the daughter to a hospital  in McAlester, Oklahoma, about 15 minutes away. Hospital personnel took one look at the second and third-degree burns over 60% of the child’s body and called police.

Suggs was arrested and charged with felony child abuse. When the daughter was released she was taken into custody by child services.

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