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Family Of Woman Set On Fire Waits For Answers, Hopes For Her Recovery

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Sherry Bean has burns over 40 percent of her body.

She's lost an arm and may lose another. Doctors at the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center also discovered fractures to Bean's face and skull.

Bean has endured several surgeries to remove burned skin.

She hasn't been conscious to know about any of it.

"They're hoping that as soon as she is conscious, she'll be able to tell them what happened," said Bean's brother, Tony, referring to the Southern Pines police and the incident that left his sister in her present condition.

Tony Bean said he's glad police have a suspect in the burning and attack of Sherry Bean -- 18-year-old David Shaw. Shaw has a record that includes assault on a police officer and cruelty to animals.

Police say Shaw assaulted 27-year-old Sherry Bean, then allegedly set her on fire in an abandoned garage. He is charged with attempted murder.

The day police arrested Shaw, he was in court for assault on a female.

Tony Bean and his family don't know if Sherry Bean knew her attacker. But given Shaw's record, the family wonders why he was free to do what he is charged with.

"It seems like he's kind of staying under the radar," Tony Bean said, "and escaping the punishment he should already have for the crimes he's already committed."

Tony Bean said his sister's 6-year-old son saw his mother Saturday for the first time since the attack on March 25.

"He's handling it OK," Tony said. "But he doesn't know the extent of it yet."

No one knows the full extent of Sherry Bean's injuries or the prognosis for recovery. It's day to day.

Sister-in-law Meg Bean saw one hopeful sign Saturday -- Sherry blinked her eyes.

"I think she was definitely trying to let us know that she knew we were there," Meg Bean said.

But the waiting and the searching for answers continues.

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