A 9-year-old boy suffered severe burns in what police say was a prank gone wrong in Northwest Indiana.
The boy's family is not convinced.
Three older white boys took the black third-grader, Joshua Judkins, into some woods near the boy's mother's house after asking Joshua if he wanted to learn how to start a fire, The Post-Tribune reported.
The older boys poured rubbing alcohol on third-grader Joshua Judkins, then lit him on fire Monday in Gibson Woods, the boy's father, Elijah Jenkins, said.
Joshua was able to extinguish the flames by rolling on the ground, then ran a block, screaming, to his mother's apartment.
Joshua was taken to a hospital in Hammond, then transported to the intensive care unit at Stroger Hospital of Cook County for treatment of third-degree burns over 20% of his body -- on his back, buttocks, neck and legs.
The burns will require skin grafts to heal, according to Elijah Jenkins.
The boys suspected of torching the 9-year-old are in their early teens. Joshua had met his attackers only a day earlier. He was able to tell police that one of them may have been named Ryan.
"We don't know who they are or why they did this," Elijah Jenkins said Thursday from his son's bedside.
He's not sold on the police theory that the incident was meant to be a "prank"
"Whether it was [intended] as a prank or not, it was dangerous," the concerned father said, "and it's a crime."
"They did this to a kid who was just 9 years old," he said.