The man accused of setting his own mother on fire at a local business in Indio appeared in court Wednesday afternoon. Israel Guardado-Ramirez pleaded not guilty to allegedly setting his mom, Francisca Ramirez, on fire Friday morning.
Deirdre Rodriguez is Israel’s cousin, and niece of Francisca. She said her aunt is a beautiful person. "She is real loving. She cares about everybody," she explained. Rodriguez said she can’t understand why anyone would want to hurt her. "I couldn’t believe that a son would be capable of doing that to his mother," she said.
Early Friday morning, police responded calls to a woman on fire behind the Indio Mathis Brothers, where Francisca has been a long-time employee. "We learned that there was some type of dispute between her and her child over child custody," said Sgt. Dan Marshall about a possible motive.
Rodriguez said Ramirez and her son were distant and recently were fighting. "Just arguments within the family. It starts with bickering and from the bickering, it just grows."
Family members tell KMIR News Francisca is fighting for her life. "She’s not good, she’s not bad. She is having procedures done, so her body doesn’t go into shock," Rodriguez said about her condition.
Even Sgt. Marshall is still shaken up. "We realized that it was horrific that this person was actually on fire. It affected my whole team and the team that actually worked it," he said about the gruesome details.
Rodriguez and other family members are still trying to understand why this happened. "How could one person harm another person in such a manner? To torture them to the point where their body is charred?" Rodriguez said.
A GoFundMe has been set up. If you would like to help the family click here.