UPDATE: Woman Set Self Afire

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  • A Winnsboro, Louisiana woman who initially told authorities she was set afire by three men wearing hoodies, actually burned herself and also smeared racial slurs on her vehicle, law enforcement officials told BlackAmericaweb.com.

    Sharmeka Moffitt, a 20-year-old woman, remains in critical condition in LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, authorities said. On Monday, her mother, Edna Moffitt, told local television reporters that her daughter was burned on 60 percent of her body.

    “Initial findings from the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab do not support Miss Moffitt’s claim that she was attacked by three males,” said Lt. Julie Lewis of the Louisiana State Police. “About 60 percent of the evidence has been examined. Both fingerprint evidence and DNA evidence collected do not support the claim. The investigation is ongoing,” Lewis told BlackAmericaweb.com.

    Authorities told  Moffitt’s family of the findings before making a public statement in a press conference this afternoon in Winnsboro. Moffitt’s father is also the family’s pastor and was with the family when they were told of the investigation results thus far.

    Investigators say at this time they do not know what may have motivated Moffitt to inflict this type of injury on herself. “They are unable to interview her at this time because of her condition,” Lewis told BlackAmericaweb.com.

    Authorities said the woman called 911 on Sunday night saying that three men had set her afire. News of the alleged incident went viral on the internet, and many immediately labeled it a hate crime.

    The NAACP on Tuesday called for a full investigation, hours before local and state police held a press conference to release the latest information.

    In an interview earlier in the day, Winnsboro Police Chief Lester Thomas told BlackAmericaweb.com “no witnesses have come forward and no reward has been offered in this case at this time.”

    He said it was a joint investigation involving the state police and the Federal Bureau of investigation.

    The NAACP had called for a thorough investigation into the matter and released a statement on Tuesday saying:  "The NAACP offers our prayers to Ms. Moffitt and her family in their time of crisis. Initial reports of racial animus in the incident are disturbing. We will remain vigilant as we urge authorities to conduct a full investigation into this crime. We encourage anyone with information on the incident to immediately report possible leads to authorities."

    Louisiana State Sen. Rick Gallot had also encouraged a thorough investigation, but cautioned observers not to rush to judgment.
     

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