Man accused of dousing toddler, woman in lighter fluid

Published: Monday, March 12, 2018 @ 3:00 AM

Photo credit: DodgertonSkillhause /
DodgertonSkillhause /
Photo credit: DodgertonSkillhause / /

Police in Lawrence, Massachusetts, arrested a man after he allegedly doused the mother of his child, as well as the 18-month-old boy, in lighter fluid, the Eagle Tribune reports.

William Connatser, 37, was arrested and charged with two counts of assault with intent to murder, police say. 

Police Chief Roy Vasque said Connatser was staying at the Essex County Sheriff's Department re-entry program home and was wearing a GPS tracking bracelet. He asked permission to go to a nearby Market Basket, where he bought the lighter fluid, police said.

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At the store, Connatser met the woman and their child at his invitation, police said. He then accused her of cheating on him, grew angry, and then doused their car and the two victims in the lighter fluid, police said.

Connatser told the woman to get in the car and drive out of the parking lot and threatened to set both her and child on fire if she didn't, police said.

As she drove around, the woman began to honk her horn at other drivers, asking for help, which prompted Connatser to punch her multiple times on the head, police said.

Connatser only stopped when a police officer stopped the car and handcuffed him, authorities said.

“I thought the officer did a great job, used great restraint in a bad situation where he could have easily opened fire,” Vasque said. “Obviously, we're glad he was able to come to the woman's and the child's aid.”

The woman sustained serious injuries to her head and face and had blood on her hands, according to the police report. 

She received emergency treatment and was then taken to Lawrence General Hospital, where she and her child were able to wash off the lighter fluid.

A temporary restraining order has been issued against Connatser, according to police.

Connatser is scheduled to be arraigned Monday at Lawrence District Court.