Burn victim’s mom: “I want to crawl in the corner and cry.”

MEMPHIS, AR – Rhonda Roach waits outside the Burn Unit at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis. She’s been there almost 24/7 for close to a month … waiting.

“It’s probably the hardest part, waiting between visits, wondering what’s gonna happen next,” she said. “It’s very hard not to fall apart emotionally. I mean I just want to crawl in the corner and cry and make it go away.”

Just one month ago, Roach’s son, Edmund Morris, was healthy. Then, he tagged along with his friend, Phillip Pollet, to confront another man, Aaron Stapleton, in a McDonald’s parking lot in Hot Springs. Police say Pollet and Stapleton were arguing over a girl, and Morris had nothing to do with it. Then police say Stapleton threw a cup of flammable liquid in Morris’ face and lit him on fire.

“We’ve turned it over to God,” said Roach. “We have to let him guide us.”

Roach spends so much time waiting in the hospital because severe burns now cover half of her son’s body. He’s had four surgeries, including one where doctors amputated his left hand.

“We generally spend our days together,” his mom reflected, “you know everything we do is together, and right now we can’t do that.”

But doing that again — is Roach’s only wish.

“Him healing up and going home,” she said, “living a normal life which may never happen. This has changed his life and our life forever.”

Prosecutors filed charges against Pollet and Stapleton for their roles in the incident, they’re both waiting for their court hearings.

Meanwhile, Roach and her son wait for something entirely different — that may never come.

“He can’t give me advice and he can’t be my rock right now,” Roach cried. “I’m trying real hard to be his, and I just hope I’m doing a good job.”

Roach had been sleeping in a motel near the hospital in Memphis. Then she ran out of money. She is now living in the hospital, and as a result, her family set up a fund for both her and her son at the Arkansas Health Center Federal Credit Union in Benton.

If you’d like to help the family out, you can mail a check or money order to the credit union. The address is 6701 Hwy 67, Benton, AR, 72015.

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