Community comes together for burn victim

Local

KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) Police have arrested a man who allegedly poured a flammable liquid over a woman and set her on fire.

On Monday at 10:52 am, a Kinston Police Department officer on patrol was flagged down by a passerby at the intersection of Bright and East streets.

Police said that on the sidewalk, there was a 24-year-old woman who was suffering from severe burns to her upper body.

An initial investigation revealed the victim, who was operating a vehicle that was stopped on East Street, was approached by an unknown assailant who doused the victim with a flammable liquid and then set her on fire.

The Kinston Department of Fire and Rescue and Lenoir County EMS personnel responded and rendered aid to the victim.

The victim was identified as Khloe McNeal of Kinston.

McNeal is a student at Lenoir County’s Cosmetology School.

A donation page has been set up in her honor, to help with medical bills and getting her family to her, as many of them live out of the area.

Her friends and teachers are all devastated with the news but are helping in any way they can.

McNeal was transported to UNC Lenoir and subsequently flown to the North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill.

Chair 36 is where Khloe practices and studies cosmetology at Lenoir Community College. It sits empty, awaiting her return.

Some of the women at her school say they’ve heard she’s responding well to treatments.

Tim Dilday, Kinston Police Department Interim Police Chief said, “At this time there is no relation whatsoever between the two, it does appear to be a random act.”

At 7:08 p.m., police arrested Venice Taylor, 41, of Jacksonville, in connection with the case.

Taylor was taken into custody during a traffic stop which took place along the 300 Block of East Vernon Avenue in Kinston.

Security cameras in the Kinston area assisted officials with the arrest of Taylor.

He was sent to the Lenoir County Jail.

At this time, release provisions have yet to be set.

Police will be seeking charges as follows:

  • Attempted murder
  • Malicious maiming
  • Resisting public officials
  • Driving with a revoked license
  • Failure to stop for blue light/siren

Taylor was scheduled to make his first court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

He allegedly set the home of a relative on fire Monday around 10 a.m. prior to the assault of McNeal.

Taylor received a $2 million bond.

His next court appearance is scheduled for February 18 at 9 a.m.

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