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New Bride Accused of Setting Husband on Fire in Austin

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Shriya Bimal Patel, 25, is accused of setting her husband on fire. (Austin Police Department photo)
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    A new bride, who arrived in Austin, Texas 15 days ago, was charged with setting her husband on fire April 17 and is in custody on $1 million bail.

    Shriya Biman Patel, 25, allegedly poured gasoline over her husband in the midst of a hot-oil massage, and lit him on fire. Police responded to 911 calls from neighbors, and found the victim naked in his bathroom, with severe burns over 70 percent of his body. He was airlifted to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas.
     
    Police have not identified the victim, but India-West has learned that he is Biman Patel, 29. A spokesperson for the Brooke Army Medical Center confirmed that Patel had been brought to the hospital late evening April 17 and remains in critical condition in the burn clinic, in a medically-induced coma.
     
    Shriya Patel was immediately taken into custody and remains at Travis County Jail. She will have her first appearance in court May 10. The young woman has been charged with aggravated assault, a first degree felony, and arson. Each charge carries a bond of $500,000.
     
    Patel told police on the scene that her husband had set himself on fire.
     
    But Austin Police Department Senior Officer Dennis Farris told India-West that there was ample evidence to show that Shriya Patel had planned the attack. “She actually went to Walmart and bought several items to tape up the sprinkler heads and smoke detectors,” he stated. A Walmart security tape shows Shriya buying several items there, including scarves used in the attack.
     
    Police have not identified a motive for the attack, said Farris.
     
    Police arrived at the scene at about 9 p.m. April 17, and detected a strong odor of gasoline in the Patels’ apartment. Austin firefighters were dispatched to the scene to attend to Biman Patel.
     
    "Why did she burn me?" he was heard saying as he was being wheeled to a medical helicopter. "Why did she burn me? All I was trying to do was love her,” he said, according to local media.
     
    "In 17 years at the fire department, I have seen burns like this but nothing that was premeditated like this," Austin Fire Department Captain Andy Reardon told local media.
     
    Little is known about either Shriya or Biman Patel. An anonymous reader, responding to a Houston Press story online, commented, “There are a lot of details which seem to missing in this story. This girl, was born and brought up in Dubai, UAE, a very silent and simple girl which was in the US only for a week.”
     
    “I cannot comment on her mental status, but she has no criminal background; in fact she was excited to go to the US and begin a new life with her husband. Something fishy seems to be going on,” said the post. 
     
    Vijay Mehta, a fixture in the Indian American community in Texas, told India-West he too believed something suspicious was happening with the couple.
     
    “Indian men can be very jerky. Even within seven days he could have said or done something to completely set her off,” he said, adding, “It amazes me, how, within seven days, she was smart enough to plan all this.”
     
    The Indian American community in Texas is a tight-knit one, but Biman Patel is not known to many people, said Mehta. “He seemed to live in total isolation,” said Mehta, who runs an informal matchmaking service.
     
    “My first thought was to go to Travis County Jail and make sure Shriya had some support and vegetarian food,” Mehta told India-West.
     
    “It sounds like she is a horrible person but who knows what he is like?” said Mehta.
     
    According to AP, the couple had been married for a year, and Shriya had only been in the U.S. for seven days after coming from India.
     
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  • AxHartford
  • Dec 19, 2012

    Wow I am just now reading this article and I can't believe what I'm reading. I was also friends with Bimal and saw him extremely often(if not daily for a while) for the time he was in Austin. We lived within walking distance. Like Patrick said above I was also one of the guys who helped in move into that apartment. Every thing he was doing leading up to her getting here was all with her in mind. Never once did you see him behave anything but like a married guy would. I was actually looking forward to meeting her because he spoke highly of her. Needless to say he was nothing but one the nicest guy I have ever known. I can't believe this crap I'm reading. It makes my stomach turn thinking about him suffering like that.

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  • sunita37
  • Sep 21, 2012

    Here's an updated story...

    http://www.indiawest.com/news/6694-texas-man-set-on-fire-dies-after-four-months-in-coma.html

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  • MALS
  • May 04, 2012

    Hi Jess.. You seem to be a good human being pls update us on the latest please.. How is Biman.. I have been praying for him. Also his wife? Has'nt she said anything till now as to what really happened? Hope you post something so that those who are worried can get some updates.. Thanks so much and God bless!!

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  • Jess
  • May 01, 2012

    First off, you don't even have his first name right. Second off, who in the hell do you think you are, Vijay Mehta, to comment about someone you have never met? "Indian men can be very jerky." Are you freaking kidding me? If any WHITE person would have said that, it would have been racist. How stupid! Sorry if that's how the Indian men YOU'VE known have treated YOU, but that is an unfair stereotype to saddle on someone how just went through something so tragic. I don't care WHAT someone does or says in 7 days, it does NOT justify what happened to him. But I don't believe he was so horrible that he "set her off". Why do I think this? Because I KNOW him. I went to school with him since 3rd grade in a little bity town in the Texas panhandle. He wasn't well known in the Indian community in Austin? Maybe, and I am speculating here, it could be that because he was raised in a small town being the only Indian family, he doesn't feel the need to "group" with other Indians to get by. Maybe he has friends of different races and chooses not to be in the Indian scene. And this makes him "suspicious" in your eyes? REALLY?! How freaking intolerant can you be?! Where is the outpouring of support for HIM from the Indian community? Because I can tell you news of this tragedy spread fast on Facebook in his hometown, and everyone had nothing but good things to say and showed concern and disbelief that this could happen to such a nice guy. He was so sweet, and I would ask about him everytime I talked to his father. I don't pretend to know all of the details, but I know him as a PERSON, and I can tell you I have never seen him do or heard him say a mean thing in his life. SHAME ON YOU for casting doubt on him when you don't even KNOW him!!

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  • Jess
  • May 01, 2012

    First off, you don't even have his first name right. Second off, who in the hell do you think you are, Vijay Mehta, to comment about someone you have never met? "Indian men can be very jerky." Are you freaking kidding me? If any WHITE person would have said that, it would have been racist. How stupid! Sorry if that's how the Indian men YOU'VE known have treated YOU, but that is an unfair stereotype to saddle on someone how just went through something so tragic. I don't care WHAT someone does or says in 7 days, it does NOT justify what happened to him. But I don't believe he was so horrible that he "set her off". Why do I think this? Because I KNOW him. I went to school with him since 3rd grade in a little bity town in the Texas panhandle. He wasn't well known in the Indian community in Austin? Maybe, and I am speculating here, it could be that because he was raised in a small town being the only Indian family, he doesn't feel the need to "group" with other Indians to get by. Maybe he has friends of different races and chooses not to be in the Indian scene. And this makes him "suspicious" in your eyes? REALLY?! How freaking intolerant can you be?! Where is the outpouring of support for HIM from the Indian community? Because I can tell you news of this tragedy spread fast on Facebook in his hometown, and everyone had nothing but good things to say and showed concern and disbelief that this could happen to such a nice guy. He was so sweet, and I would ask about him everytime I talked to his father. I don't pretend to know all of the details, but I know him as a PERSON, and I can tell you I have never seen him do or heard him say a mean thing in his life. SHAME ON YOU for casting doubt on him when you don't even KNOW him!!

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