Girl Set on Fire in Her Own Backyard

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Playing Stranger Sets Fire to Young Girl

Six-year-old Jayden was playing in her backyard with her younger brother, Christopher, when she says an unidentified man smoking a cigarette walked up to their backyard fence and lit her hair on fire. Her uncle, George, recalls stepping outside to find his niece’s head completely engulfed in flames. 

As police scoured the neighborhood looking for the assailant, Jayden was rushed to the pediatric intensive care unit at the University of Kansas Hospital, where doctors discovered third-degree burns covering roughly 70 percent of her head. She also suffered first- and second-degree burns to her hands from trying to pat out the flames herself.

“I was hysterical,” Jayden’s mom, Brandy, says. “It looked awful.” 

The family says that following the incident, the once-outgoing and playful child is terrified of being alone and says she’ll never set foot in the backyard again.

“I don’t want her to feel like she’s not safe in her own home,” Brandy says.

Family medicine physician Dr. Rachael Ross visited Jayden in the hospital to see how her recovery is progressing:


Back in the studio, Dr. Rachael and ER physician Dr. Travis Stork chat with Brandy and Jayden via Polycom and discuss what the family plans to do now that Jayden is finally being released from the hospital. Brandy says that they hope to move to a new home, so Jayden can feel safe again.

The Doctors surprise the family with a Nantucket swing set from Gorilla Playsets and a custom-built wood fence for their new home, care of David Fence Company, in the hope that Jayden can once again feel free to play without fear of harm. 

[Editor's note: At the time of this article's publishing, no arrests had been made in connection with this story.]