Seattle Couple in Critical Condition After Uncle's Blowtorch Attack in Puerto Rico

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UPDATE: The AP now reports that Jesus Sanchez has died. That makes four people dead from the bizarre attack, including Sanchez's grandmother who also died on Tuesday. His wife remains in critical condition and has been flown to the U.S. for treatment.

The Seattle Times also reports that the suspect, Justino Sanchez Diaz, is said to be refusing to eat or discuss a motive for the attack, and that he has dealt with police over family and fire before, including a time he set fire to a hen house over a dispute with family members.

Something tough even to imagine happened in Puerto Rico this past weekend. On New Year's Day, Justino Sanchez Diaz, a 45-year-old Puerto Rican man, supposedly poured gasoline on a table where his family was gathered, then set fire to it and attacked the group with a lit blowtorch. The assault left two of his family members dead and seven others injured. And there is, unfortunately, a local connection: The Seattle Times reports that two of the victims are Katie Donahue and Jesus Sanchez, an engaged couple from Seattle who are now clinging to life.

The couple was apparently in the northern Puerto Rican town of Florida to celebrate their recent engagement with the husband-to-be's family.

Sanchez is an engineer at Boeing, Donahue a nurse at Group Health Cooperative.

Sanchez Diaz, the alleged killer, is Sanchez's uncle.

The couple's Facebook pages both show smiling pictures of the two together.

Reports are still preliminary on the attack and no motive has yet been reported. The Seattle couple remains in critical condition.

More as we get it.

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Here's the alleged blowtorch wielder, Justino Sanchez Diaz

 
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