Lake County

East Chicago Man Charged With Arson, Battery

The man also faces a felony charge of strangulation, according to court documents

 An Indiana man is accused of choking his girlfriend, setting her apartment on fire and scalding her son with hot water earlier this month in northwest Indiana.

Frank Oliver, 63, faces multiple felony charges including aggravated battery, arson and strangulation, according to court documents filed Thursday in the Superior Court of Lake County.

East Chicago officers were dispatched Feb. 2 to the 3500 block of Guthrie Street after someone hung up a 911 call, according to an affidavit. A woman on the scene told officers her apartment was on fire and Oliver was inside. Firefighters rescued him from the building, and he was taken to St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago for treatment in police custody.

Earlier, Oliver and the woman got into an argument when she came home late, prosecutors said. He allegedly choked her, scratched her and pulled her hair before she was able to run out across the courtyard to her mother’s apartment to get help.

Her son, who was living with his grandmother, told investigators his mother showed up about 10 a.m., and he went to her apartment to ask Oliver to leave, prosecutors said. However, Oliver allegedly came to the door with a pot of hot water and threw it in the son’s face, burning 17% of his body and causing his skin to peel. Oliver then closed the door.

The woman heard her son screaming and saw smoke coming from apartment, prosecutors said. She and her sister threw bricks at a window and saw the blaze inside.

Her son was taken to a hospital in Chicago with second-degree burns to his arm, hands, neck, face and chest, prosecutors said.

Fire officials found damage throughout the apartment and deemed it uninhabitable, prosecutors said. Investigators determined the fire was set intentionally.

Bail for Oliver was set at $65,000, according to court records.

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