78-Year-Old Set on Fire After Sexual Assault

A man who was going door-to-door sexually assaulted a 78-year-old woman and set her on fire on Monday afternoon, Grand Prairie police said.

The woman let the man into her house in the 1800 block of Sunnyvale Road at about 2 p.m. after he told her he doing a "communications exercise," she told police. The victim told investigators the man said he received points depending on how many people he talked to, and he was trying to earn enough to attend college.

After she let him use her bathroom and gave him something to drink, the man sexually assaulted the woman, Grand Prairie police said. He then poured rubbing alcohol on her shirt and set her on fire.

"The shirt was made of polyester, and those things melt like plastic," Detective John Brimmer said. "She ripped off the shirt and in doing so, she singed her hair."

The victim was burned from her stomach to her chin, police said. She was taken to a local hospital with second-degree burns.

The man may have been trying to sell magazines, investigators said.

A neighbor who did not want to be identified said the area is normally very quiet.

"The only thing that has happened before this was when some plants were stolen from our front porches," the neighbor said. "But this is scary."

Police said the man was black and about 20 to 25 years old. He was described as standing 6 feet 4 inches tall with hair braided in short, tight cornrows.

He told the victim his name was Daniel and that he was a 22-year-old visiting from Chicago, police said. Investigators said the man was wearing a white shirt and multicolored pants that were black, yellow and red.

Police said anyone who has any information about the man or may have been contacted by him should call Grand Prairie police 972-237-8777 or Crime Stoppers at 972-988-8477.

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