- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 15, 2009

MIAMI (AP) | A 15-year-old doused with rubbing alcohol and set on fire after he turned in another teen for trying to steal his father’s bicycle is at extremely high risk for organ failure and infection, his doctor said Wednesday.

Michael Brewer was heavily sedated and breathing with a ventilator at Jackson Memorial Ryder Trauma Center, and Dr. Nicholas Namias said he is doing as well as can be expected but is not “out of the woods yet.”

The boy’s troubles started when Michael Bent, 15, gave him a video game and expected him to pay $40 for it, said Broward County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jim Leljedal. Michael Brewer never paid for the game, which authorities would not identify, so Michael Bent tried to steal a $500 custom bike that belonged to Michael Brewer’s father, Mr. Leljedal said.

Michael Brewer called authorities over the weekend and Michael Bent was arrested, then released Monday. Michael Brewer refused to attend classes at his middle school that day and instead went to a Deerfield Beach apartment complex to visit a friend. He told deputies that while he was sitting by the swimming pool, he was splashed with rubbing alcohol and set ablaze.

A neighbor heard his screams for help and put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, said his sister, Malissa Durkee. The teen ripped off his shirt and jumped into the pool, but he was still burned over 65 percent of his body.

Michael Bent and four other teens - 15-year-old Denver Jarvis, Steven Shelton and Jesus Mendez and 13-year-old Jeremy Jarvis - were charged with aggravated battery in the attack. Jesus Mendez also was charged with attempted second-degree murder because authorities say he flicked the lighter.

Dr. Namias said Michael Brewer’s face was not badly burned. But he said the teen suffered burns on his torso and arms and most of his hair, including his eyelashes, had also been burned off. He is expected to remain hospitalized for several months and is at extremely high risk of infection and organ failure.

“This is a life-changing event,” Dr. Namias said.

Michael Bent and the Jarvis brothers, in court Tuesday, were ordered held in a juvenile detention center for 21 days. The South Florida Sun Sentinel reported that attorney Stephen Melnick said Jeremy was “just there. He was not accused of actually doing it.” Attorneys for two others said they were “minimally involved.”

The five were not charged as adults but a sheriff’s office spokesman said it typically releases the names of anyone charged with a felony, regardless of age.

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