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Mentally Ill Man Set On Fire in Anaheim

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Authorities in Anaheim are working on putting together the pieces of a very disturbing puzzle they uncovered on Thursday on North Lemon Street near the 91 Freeway.

The LA Times reports that police found 34-year-old Rene Lopex Montez "with unexplained second- and third-degree burns over 80% of his body." His clothes were burned off, and Montez told police "he'd been doused with gasoline and set afire at another location, then dropped off." Family members of the critically injured man say that he is mentally ill and he is on medication for schizophrenia. Currently, police are struggling to work with the often confusing information he is providing about the incident.

According to The OC Register: "[Montez] told police he was in a car riding with friends when they pulled over and got out of the car near Lemon Street on the 91. That's when he said he was burned and later dropped off on Lemon, [Sgt. Tim Schmidt of the Anaheim Police Department] said." The OC Register further explains the predicament of the authorities investigating the case:

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"We have no evidence to support what he is saying," Schmidt said. "We don't have any witnesses and no vehicle has been found." Police are investigating other possibilities, including that he might have set himself on fire, Schmidt said.

"We are not sure if he ignited himself or if he was ignited by somebody else," Schmidt said. "It’s suspicious, because he is claiming one thing and it’s hard to understand how that would occur."

Their only lead right now is a red Chevy pickup truck that may have been the vehicle that transported the victim.Photo by Pierce Place via Flickr