MERCED - A woman whose hands and feet were bound before she was set afire remains in critical condition with second- and third-degree burns on 95 percent of her body, Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin said Thursday.
Pazin identified the woman as Rosa Alicia Avina, 27, of the Livingston area. Pazin said the sheriff’s department decided to release her identity in hopes that those with information about the crime would step forward.
Sheriff’s investigators are also working with an “associate” of Avina’s who may have knowledge of her whereabouts in the hours leading up the the crime, Pazin said. He called the crime “barbaric,” saying the heat from the fire was so intense, the plastic ties around Avina’s feet had melted into her flesh. “She was bound and literally left for dead,” Pazin said.
Investigators believe the suspects in the case tied Avina at her hands and feet, placed a bag over her head and sometime early Wednesday morning drove her to a location on South Avenue in the Ballico area, between Pepper Street and Ballico Avenue.
The suspects then placed Avina inside an abandoned boat near a burn pile, doused her with a flammable liquid and set her on fire.
Hours later, Avina walked nearly a mile to the intersection of South and Ballico Avenues and collapsed on a farm. She was found around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday by farm workers.
Investigators do not know if Avina was beaten or assaulted before she was burned, Pazin said.
Turlock police and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department each sent a detective to the scene, a sheriff's spokesman said.
Investigators ask anyone with information about the case to call the sheriff’s anonymous tip-line at (209) 385-7616.