After the Arson: West Allis police hope for new lead as young boy recovers
Closing a case without an arrest is the last thing police want to do, but detectives in West Allis say that could happen any day now in an arson case.
They reached out to CBS 58 Morning News Anchor Jessica Tighe in the hopes of generating a new lead. They want justice for 7-year-old Dominick Wright.
It’s been nearly one year now and Dominick is still recovering. He’ll never be the same after the fire. Scars cover his legs and feet. You can also see them on his back.
The family woke up to flames around 1:30 AM on October 30th, 2016. Police say someone intentionally set fire to the family’s former apartment in West Allis. They lived at Lincoln Crest Apartments on 102nd Street. Dominick was sleeping in the living room. Close to 30 percent of his body was burned.
“(They were) bad burns,” Dr. David Gourlay of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin explained. “Those are the type of burns that the skin is burned deep enough that they're not going to heal on their own.”
Dominick spent nearly three months at Children's Hospital.
"To see your child in the hospital bed confined for that amount of time is very heartbreaking,” Dominick’s mother Katie Zeugner said.
He had 40 procedures and his doctor says there could be more.
"There are other options we could do down the road when the trauma is less fresh in his mind,” Dr. Gourlay said.
Dominick's wounds have healed now, but managing his scars is a daily challenge. He's supposed to wear a compression suit 23 hours a day. That's not easy for a kid.
"I've seen him sad and mad, but I had never seen him depressed and that was the first time I had ever seen him depressed," Dominick’s father Fredrick Wright said.
"There's no reason a seven-year-old should even be depressed," Zeugner chimed in.
Dominick is on the autism spectrum which makes it even more difficult for the family. It's hard for him to communicate.
"He understands that something happened to his legs, but little further than that, he probably doesn't really know. He doesn't understand why or how,” Wright said.
The physical healing is one battle. The emotional is another
"He’s always going to have the emotional scars of what happened that day as well as the physical scars. Most patients can overcome the physical scars. It's the emotional trauma that's the hardest to overcome,” Dr. Gourlay said.
As Dominick continues to recover, his parents have a plea to everyone in the community.
"If you hear something, say something. There's no reason any child should have to endure this type of pain,” Zeugner said.
There’s a $5,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in this case. You can remain anonymous by calling the Arson Hotline at 1-800-362-3005. West Allis police say even the smallest tip could help keep this case open.