ANDERSON, Ind. — A woman who was severely burned this month is in the hospital and unlikely, according to relatives, to survive.
Her mother says she is the victim of a murder attempt, claiming that a man being held in the Madison County jail persuaded someone to attack the woman to keep her from testifying against him in a sexual-misconduct case.
Melanie Lyons, 37, of Anderson, was seriously burned on July 10, hours after her birthday, in her home in the 1100 block of Indian Mounds Drive. She was flown by helicopter to the Wishard Burn Unit in Indianapolis, where she was in very serious condition Thursday night, with burns over 90 percent of her body.
Anderson Police Department detective Joel Sandefur said investigators are examining whether she was burned as the result of an accident or foul play.
"There are a lot of anomalies to this whole investigation," Sandefur said. "Those are a few of the things we're trying to piece through. And on top of it all, we can't talk to Melanie right now. We're waiting to see if that's even going to be possible."
Sandefur said he couldn't speak to the validity of the Lyons family's accusations.
What police do know is Lyons, a mother of five, was sleeping downstairs on a living room couch after a birthday celebration. At about 1 a.m., the woman started screaming for help, and her husband, Chad Lyons, 40, rushed downstairs to find her on fire.
According to Sonya Troub, Melanie Lyons' mother, doctors have told the family the only parts of Lyons' body not burned were her feet and head. Troub believes somebody entered the home through the patio door, threw accelerant on Melanie and set her on fire.
"There's a direct line from the door to where she was," Troub said Thursday.