Parents set sleeping homeless man ablaze in ‘prank’ gone wrong

WATCH ABOVE: Police say a New Mexico couple took kids along as they threw fireworks at a sleeping homeless man, setting him on fire. Danielle Todesco reports.

TORONTO – A pair of New Mexico parents still have some growing up to do – and they’ll do that in police custody – after lighting a homeless man on fire with a firecracker while he slept.

Joshua Benavidez and Irene Enriquez, both 31, turned themselves into the Albuquerque Police Department on Wednesday after learning that the Native American gentleman they found lying on a sidewalk July 11 sustained severe burns.

“It was just a prank, it was just trying to scare him, that was it,” Benavidez told KOB-4.

Police had a warrant out for at least one suspect driving a “distinct-looking purple SUV with large rims” and received a multitude of tips linked to the vehicle.

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Benavidez denied involvement twice before his arrest and even went so far as to repaint the vehicle white, according to NBC. But a call from the family’s babysitter confirmed officer’s suspicions.

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The parents allegedly had their two sons, and 2-year-old daughter, in the vehicle at the time and police took statements from each boy.

In those statements police were told that the family had noticed the unidentified man’s pants smoldering and Enriquez wanted to get out of the SUV and douse the man with water. However, Benavidez refused to allow her.

“Just want to say I’m sorry to my family, to my family and to my children,” Enriquez said as she was taken into custody.

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Both suspects are being held on US$100,000 bonds and face a list of charges that include three counts of child abuse, two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, aggravated battery with great bodily harm, tampering with evidence and conspiracy.

The victim of their stunt remains in intensive care at a local hospital.

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