Attacker Attempts to Set Woman on Fire
JACKSON COUNTY-- Investigators are searching for the suspect in a bizarre attack. Police say the woman walked into a business and tried to set the store's owner on fire.
The Country Goddess is an uni-faith/multicultural store in downtown Carbondale...
"We actually have at least 6 different faiths represented in the store. We have belly dancing and organic soaps and aroma therapy and jewelry and candles. So it's a feel good store."
But for owner, Crystal Basler Payne, just two weeks ago the mood was much different.
"She came in just like any other customer and asked about bath salts."
After the woman made her decision, Payne rang up the customer.
"And then I just turned around and I told her how much it was, like $4.98 or something like that, and then she just threw the kerosene on me. Across the counter."
Payne says that's when the woman began to strike a lighter, trying to set her on fire. Payne says she ran for life, but tripped and fell just feet from the door.
"She actually said for me to be still so she could light me on fire. Like I was gonna do that. Cause I was in a fight for my life."
Payne says, during the ordeal, the woman never explained why she was being targeted.
"She had no emotion, no emotional change, whatsoever. At no point did she scream, she was extremely calm, I mean, it was as if she was making a cup of soup."
Kicking and screaming, Payne says, she managed to get away from her attacker, get to her feet, and escape. But, so did her assailant.
While Payne admits she was shaken by the attack, she says, she has no intention of closing her store.
"Absolutely not. As a matter of fact, we're gonna expand. This is a place of love and peace and cultural diversity, and I want it to reflect the community and the university, and there is nothing gonna stop me from doing that."
Since the attack, Payne has added a surveillance system and made other security upgrades. Carbondale police say they are investigating the crime. If you have any information, you're urged to call Carbondale Crime-Stoppers.
By: Rachel Gartner