A 36-year-old Minneapolis woman died Thursday after bolting out of her house screaming and on fire, the victim of an abusive boyfriend who just moments before had allegedly poured gasoline on her bed and lit it ablaze, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
A downstairs neighbor who was thrust awake by the commotion reportedly encountered the victim, Vanessa Danielson, outside the home and threw a blanket on her to smother out the flames.
But by that time, it was too late. Danielson later died at a Twin Cities hospital.
Her boyfriend, Wyndale Fayson, 32, has been charged with second-degree murder in connection with Danielson’s death, according to a criminal complaint.
Fayson has yet to make a court appearance because he himself is in the hospital undergoing treatment for significant burns.
The episode was the second time Fayson had been at Danielson’s apartment that morning. She had previously called police around 2:45 a.m. Thursday to report that he was at her home and threatening her.
He allegedly took her cellphone, smashed it and threatened to kill her by setting the apartment on fire.
Fayson had already fled when officers arrived.
Police were again called at 6:41 a.m. to a report of a woman screaming at the same address. Upon arrival, officers found the upstairs apartment on fire and Danielson badly burned and lying in the front yard.
As she was being transported to the hospital, she told rescue crews that she had awoke to the fire on her bed. She also told the neighbor, who held her hand while waiting for authorities to respond, that Fayson was responsible for the blaze.
Officers found Fayson three blocks away from the home on his hands and knees and wailing in pain with major burns. Witnesses heard him say that he shouldn’t have returned to the residence, court records state.
Dawn Ahrens, a neighbor who lives two doors down from the scene, said she saw a severely burned Danielson stagger across the street.
At the time, Danielson was conscious and said her boyfriend was responsible for the fire.
“She kept saying, ‘Help me! When are they [paramedics] going to get here? Pray for me,’ ” Aherns said.
She held Danielson’s hands for what “felt like an eternity” until an ambulance got to the home.
“I honest to god didn’t expect her to die,” she said.
Matt Danielson, Vanessa’s brother, told the newspaper that his sister had multiple sclerosis, weighed only 80 pounds, was weak physically and mentally and “didn’t have the ability to keep these monsters out of her life.”
“My sister’s death was caused by a horrible predator,” Matt Danielson said. “My family and I did everything we could to help her, but people like this guy prey on weak people like her.”
Police had responded numerous times to Danielson’s home for domestic violence calls going back to at least May 2016, police records show.
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