Brother of Golden Corral worker lit on fire: 'Why did he do that to her?'

Carol Demmons still critical after suffering burns to 62% of her body

By Francesca Amiker - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A 56-year-old Golden Corral worker who police say was intentionally lit on fire by her boyfriend last week inside the restaurant is still unresponsive and 62 percent of her body is burned, her brother said. 

Carol Renee Demmons was doused with lighter fluid by Darryl Tyrone Whipple, 58, who then ignited her with a lighter as she ran away, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. Whipple has been charged with attempted murder, battery and criminal mischief.

Demmons remains in critical condition at the UF Health Shands Hospital Burn Unit in Gainesville, her brother Winston Smith told News4Jax. 

Days after Demmons was airlifted to the hospital, Smith said he learned from his sister's close friends that her boyfriend of a year had threatened her before. 

"When I met him, I didn't get the impression that anything was going wrong. I only found out things were going wrong after this happened," Smith said. "I was blown away. I couldn't believe (it). I was asking myself why, why did he do that to her?"

Smith shared the harrowing story of his sister's recovery, saying she is on a ventilator, using a respirator and underwent surgery Friday. 

"She's just laying there. Her whole face is burnt," Smith said. "Her whole body is burnt, like, 62 percent of her whole body. And the doctors, they're not optimistic at all."

Winston Smith

Friday's surgery was deemed successful, Smith said, his sister remains unresponsive.

On top of everything, the family has run into another problem. Smith said they found out that his sister does not have insurance.

"Initially, we were confident that the situation would be taken care of by, at least, workers' comp insurance. And then today, we got news that they're not paying for it," Smith said.

Even though she was on the job at the time of tragic incident, Smith said, the franchise notified them that they would not be responsible since Whipple is not affiliated with the restaurant. Smith said the owners of the franchise have been more than supportive and have even helped them come up with ways to raise money, but there's only so much they can do. 

For now, Smith said, his family just hopes Demmons' story can help others.

"This happens every day and there is someone out there right now that is being abused and being beaten right now, this second, and I want an awareness to be brought to this and I want something done," Smith said. 

Demmons' medical bill will only get bigger, and a VYSTAR account has been opened so anyone wishing to donate can do so. The account number is 703212005.

The family has also started a GoFundMe page.

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