About this iReport
  • Approved for CNN

  • Click to view TiffFlournoy's profile
    Posted October 23, 2012 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Breaking news: Share your story

    More from TiffFlournoy

    Evidence: Louisiana woman set herself on fire


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Tiffany Flournoy, a freelance journalist in Minden, Louisiana, has been following this story in which a young black woman was set on fire and had her car spray-painted with racial slurs. Tuesday night, she shared a photo of her notes from an interview with Louisiana State Trooper Albert Paxton after he attended a press conference announcing the latest development in the case -- that Sharmeka Moffitt appears to have set herself on fire and spray-painted her own car with slurs. Paxton told the iReporter the woman's fingerprints were on the cigarette lighter as well as the lighter fluid found on the scene, and the only DNA found was from a female.

    'It was a bit shocking and a little bit disheartening to know that someone could possibly do that to themselves,' Flournoy told CNN iReport. Paxton told her that the Franklin Parish sheriff and the Winnsboro police chief encouraged the public to continue praying for the young woman and her mother, as she remains in the hospital with 60 percent of her body burned. Individuals were also still posting prayers on a Facebook page set up for the woman, she said.

    More on this from CNN affiliate WAFB.
    - dsashin, CNN iReport producer

    Written by
    Tiffany Flournoy


    WINNSBORO, La. – Authorities say evidence found and examined from the scene of where 20-year-old Sharmeka Moffitt claimed she was attacked and set on fire Sunday, point to self-inflicted burns.

    During a Winnsboro-based press conference this afternoon authorities released more information into what some had thought to be a possible hate crime.


    “Evidence found at the scene included a cigarette lighter and lighter fluid,” said Trooper Albert Paxton, Louisiana State Police spokesperson, during a phone interview Tuesday. Paxton who attended today’s Winnsboro/Franklin Parish conference said that other information released to the public today revealed that DNA found at the scene only fit the profile of a female.


    “The only DNA found at the scene was hers (Moffitt’s),” Paxton said. “Her fingerprints were on the lighter and the lighter fluid.”

    After placing a 911 call to authorities Sunday, Moffitt reportedly told authorities that she had been set on fire by three males wearing white hoodies; however, she could not identify the race of the men. During a phone interview Monday, Paxton said that according to reports, the fire had been put out by the time police arrived on the scene, where the words “KKK” and “nigger” had been written on Moffitts car.


    According to reports, Moffitt is responsible for tattooing her vehicle with the racial slurs.


    Paxton added that during the 4:30 news conference both the Winnsboro Police Chief and the Sheriff encouraged the public to continue praying for Moffitt, who is hospitalized at LSU Medical Center with over 60 percent of her body burned at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. The public is also encouraged to pray for Moffitt’s mother.


    As of 6 p.m. today more than 33,000 Facebookers had already “Liked” the page Prayers for Sharmeka Moffit, which was set up roughly two days ago. Despite news of self-inflicted injuries, individuals were yet sending prayers via the social media network Facebook. While some posts supported a speedy recovery, others found it hard to believe someone would set fire to their own body connected to a racial undertone.


    “Seems the girl set herself on fire and blamed other people. I wish her a speedy recovery and hopes she gets the help she needs,” Jason Carter said in a Facebook post at approximately 6:20 p.m. near Tyler Texas.


    Authorities say no witnesses have come forward at this time. The investigation is ongoing. Upon completion of the investigation information surrounding the case will be forwarded to the Franklin Parish District Attorney’s Office to determine further proceedings. The investigation is expected to be completed later this week.

    Add your Story Add your Story