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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, June 24, 2022

UW-Madison grad student coping with burns, loss of five relatives

A UW-Madison graduate student is recovering from serious burns after her uncle allegedly set fire to a room with a blowtorch in Puerto Rico on New Year's Day.

Patricia Sanchez Vazquez, 24, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Bacteriology, is recovering at a hospital in Puerto Rico from second-degree burns on more than 25 percent of her body, according to WISC-TV.  Sanchez Vazquez's father is also recovering from the incident. Her mother remains in a coma.

Justino Sanchez Diaz, 45, allegedly doused the room where Vazquez and her family would be gathering for a family meal with gasoline.  Local police said Sanchez Diaz allegedly placed fuel canisters under the dinner table and sprayed kerosene on family members as they sat down.  He then lit them on fire with a homemade blowtorch.

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Sanchez Vazquez's brother, his fiancé, her grandmother, her sister and a cousin did not survive the attack.

Sanchez Diaz is in custody with no known motive.

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