BOCA RATON, Fla. - A delivery worker was arrested in Boca Raton, Florida, on suspicion of beating an elderly woman, dousing her with a chemical and setting her on fire, according to authorities.
The incident happened around 9:15 a.m. Monday, when two third-party delivery workers contracted by Best Buy dropped off a washer and dryer at the victim’s home.
Authorities received a medical call for help and when first responders arrived, they found the 75-year-old victim unconscious against a washer in her laundry room. She suffered burns and severe head injuries, according to police.
The woman was taken to a local hospital and died of her injuries Tuesday, according to authorities. Police noted the woman suffered multiple skull and facial fractures, severe brain bleeding and second- and third-degree burns on most of her body.
“We offer our sincere condolences to her family and loved ones,” a police spokesman said.
During the investigation, authorities interviewed David Gonzalez, one of the delivery drivers at the scene. He told police he and his coworker, 21-year-old Jorge Luis Dupre Lachazo, delivered the items to the victim.
At one point, Gonzalez said he went outside to return a few missed calls from the office, while Lachazo stayed inside to walk the woman through the operation of her appliances.
Gonzalez said he heard screaming, noticed the garage door closing and ran back inside. He told police he saw blood and found the woman unconscious. He immediately called his supervisor and then 911.
He told authorities Lachazo was “acting very strange” and repeatedly indicated they needed to leave. After Gonzalez called police, Lachazo got in the delivery truck and fled the scene, according to the arrest report.
When authorities arrived and began investigating the scene at the woman’s home, they noticed burn marks on the washing machine and along the door frame of the room. The report indicated officers noticed a strong chemical odor in the room.
Police found a wooden mallet covered in blood on top of the washing machine as well as a wine bottle containing dried blood and hair near the appliance, according to the report.
Authorities noted that the stove in the kitchen was pulled away from the wall with all of its burners and the oven on. They discovered an open can of acetone on the counter and the lid in the laundry room near the washing machine.
An officer responding to the scene stopped Lachazo not far from the victim’s home. In the arrest report, officers noticed the hair on Lachazo’s legs was singed and covered in ashes.
Detectives said Lachazo later admitted that he hit the woman with the mallet and poured a chemical on her that he’d found in the garage. He’d also “admitted to using cocaine and marijuana earlier in the day.”
The report said Lachazo used his hands to indicate the chemical he’d poured on the woman “spontaneously combusted.”
Authorities noted in the report that Lachazo’s fingerprints were found on the can of acetone.
Lachazo faces charges of attempted second-degree murder, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on a person 65 years of age or older and arson, according to authorities.
The investigation was ongoing.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.