Man accused of setting mother on fire to face murder charges

0305 burn mom

INDIO, Calif. - A man accused of setting his mother on fire in Indio, causing her to be hospitalized for a month before she died from burns on more than 50 percent of her body, was scheduled to be arraigned on murder charges Monday.

Israel Guardado-Ramirez, 36, is accused of setting fire to Francisca Ramirez, 61, of North Shore, on Jan. 26 at the loading dock outside the Mathis Brothers furniture store where she worked.

Ramirez was hospitalized at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where she died of her injuries on Feb. 25. 

Prosecutors charged him in January with attempted murder and torture, but following her death, DA's spokesman John Hall said that an amended complaint adding one count of murder would be filed on Monday.

Guardado-Ramirez remains in custody on $1 million bail, and is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

Shortly after Ramirez was taken to the hospital, police say she identified her son as the suspect.

Following an argument involving a child custody issue, her son used "some type of accelerant" to set her on fire, according to Indio Sgt. Daniel Marshall. Guardado-Ramirez then walked into the Riverside County jail in Indio and turned himself in, Marshall said.

In a declaration supporting an increase in his $1 million bail, Indio police Detective Jesse Marin said the defendant, who was living out of his car at the time, traveled to Indio "with the purpose of 'settling matters' with family members, which included his mother."

The exact nature of the custody dispute between Guardado-Ramirez and his mother remains unclear, but family members have said that the defendant has a teenage daughter.

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