Pflugerville man on the run after trying to set girlfriend on fire
PFLUGERVILLE, Texas - 26-year-old Joshua Collins and his girlfriend, who we won't name, had been together for about a year-and-a-half according to his girlfriend's dad, who we'll just call "Randy."
"She's got a big heart and she was trying to change him. You know it just wasn't working," Randy said.
The two had a child together and Randy says whenever Collins wasn't in jail he was living at Randy's home on Broken Feather Trail with his daughter. Randy says after this recent incident he learned Collins has hurt his daughter before.
"He's volatile. He's not a very nice guy," Randy said.
According to police paperwork, in the wee hours of the morning on the Fourth of July, Collins and his girlfriend got into an argument about him taking her car without permission.
U.S. Marshal Hector Gomez with the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force says Collins started hitting her. Then he found a bottle of charcoal lighter fluid and doused her with it.
"He brought her into another room by her hair and attempted to light her on fire with a cigarette," Gomez said.
Thanks to what Gomez says may have actually been Divine Intervention, the cigarette wouldn't ignite the fluid.
"There's a reason why that cigarette didn't work. I mean clearly it's highly flammable...quite capable of starting many things," Gomez said.
"It was amazing. The Good Lord was watching over her," her dad said.
But the violence wasn't over.
That's when law enforcement says Collins went inside the kitchen to try and find a lighter -- all the while telling his girlfriend he's going to kill her. While he was in there she runs out, he came after her, caught her in the street and drug her back inside by her hair.
When Collins got her back inside, he continued slamming her against the wall. His girlfriend pretended to be unconscious and managed to get away. Collins took the car and hasn't been seen since.
"It's pretty clear that Collins' propensity for violence has escalated or is escalating. That's why the task force certainly feels that we need to elevate the hunt for Joshua Collins," Gomez said.
Gomez says that includes talking with known-gang members.
"In my experience, a lot of these associates of his really at this point in time don't want him hanging around them. It's going to be drawing undue attention to them," Gomez said.
Randy says his daughter still has injuries, both physical and emotional. He says his family won't be able to sleep very well until Collins is behind bars.
By the way, the car was found so the task force is just looking for Collins.
Gomez says at the moment he's charged with the basic Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon but he's sure more charges are on the way once he gets picked up.
Gomez says if anyone is helping Collins out in any way, they may get charged too.
If you have any information about Collins, call the Lone Star Fugitive Task Force at (512) 800-4213.
The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force is on the lookout for a Pflugerville man who is accused of assaulting a woman and attempting to set her on fire. The man is identified as 26-year-old Joshua Collins.
Officials say the incident happened in the early morning hours of July 4th. Pflugerville police responded to a 9-1-1 call about a woman who was screaming in the 500 block of Broken Feather Trail.
Officers arrived and reported that when they found the victim she had red scratch marks on her faces, abrasions on her upper chest and a swollen lip.
The victim identified Collins as the person that caused her injuries. The victim told police that an argument began when Collins took her car without permission and then later demanded her keys again. She said she refused and Collins reportedly began hitting and throwing her around the home by pulling her hair.
Collins then reportedly got a container of charcoal lighter fluid, doused the victim and dragged her into a room where he tried to ignite her with a cigarette. He was unsuccessful and when he went to look for a lighter the victim ran out the front door.
The victim wasn't able to escape and was grabbed by Collins who reportedly dragged her back into the home and she was knocked against walls.
Officials say the victim pretended to be unconscious resulting in Collins taking her car and leaving.
Anyone with information pertaining to the whereabouts of Joshua Collins is encouraged to call (512) 800-4213, Capital Area Crime Stoppers at 472-TIPS, or your nearest law enforcement agency. Your identity will remain anonymous.