Robbie Middleton just turned 8 and on his birthday gasoline was being poured on him and he was being set on fire in the woods by another boy. He ended up escaping, making his way home, then collapsing on the street.
Severe blisters were covering his body. Skin hanging off his ankles. He was near death.
His mother found him with nearly 100 percent of his body being burned. The soles of his feet were all that was left untouched from the fire.
It would be over 150 operations, numerous skin grafts, but Robbie would be able to live.
While still disfigured and very traumatized, it was his continual optimism which was what really shined through.
He made statements such as: “The past is the past. You need to let it go.” He also raised money for burn victims.
Sadly, it would be at age 20, when those third degree burns would catch up with him. They turned into skin cancer. Robbie was now in the hospital, dying.
While there, he recorded a deposition, calling out the person responsible for all this agony, and now his early death. Dan Collins.
Apparently they could not find any motive that Collins had, and he was acquitted.
But in this deposition, the truth came out. Collins wanted to keep the boy silent. It was 17 days prior to him being set on fire, that Collins had raped him, according to Robbie.
Here’s what was stated:
“Don grabbed me by my shoulder and threw gas in my face, after that I don’t really remember anything.”
He was blinded by the gas, but then realized he was set on fire and ran from the woods, towards home.
“I was running as fast as I could but I couldn’t see where I was running to.” He was also screaming in terrible pain from the burning.
It was April of 2011 when Robbie would pass away from the injuries. Investigators ruled the death, a homicide.
The largest civil lawsuit win in U.S. history was had as the family was awarded $150 billion in the lawsuit against Collins.
Robbie’s family took the case to court, and it was in February of 2015, when now 29-year-old Collins received up to 40 years in prison from the jury.
Back in 1998, the law disallowed for 13-year-olds to be tried as adults. So instead Collins received the maximum sentence which could be given for his age at the time.