Woman burned alive by husband, survives to tell story

FRANKLIN, Ind.  — A Franklin woman who was set on fire by her husband is sharing her story for the very first time.

Amy Keever spent more than two months in coma. Over 60 percent of her body was burned and doctors gave her only a three percent chance of survival. She not only beat the odds, but she came out with a forgiving heart.

“My hand was badly burned. It’s ironic that this was burnt, then it didn’t burn here. Technically, they said that this hand wouldn’t have got burned at all, but I was trying to put myself out with this hand,” Keever explained, describing burns on her arm.

July 24, 2015 started off typical. Amy went to work, then headed to yard sales with her youngest daughter, Payton.

“I had just gotten back in the house when Donn texted me and asked me to meet him outside because he had paper work for me,” she said.

She went outside to meet Donn Keever, her husband who she was divorcing after eighteen and a half years. She says he became jealous when she started seeing another man.

“I said ‘so, how have you been?’ And he goes, ‘Not good.’ His eyes got real big and he reaches down, what I thought…Donn used to drink water all the time. It was a red solo cup that was in his cup holder,” she said.

But it wasn’t water. She says it was lighter fluid.

“He had picked it up and doused out the window on me. Of course I smelled it. (I) took off like a you-know-what down the street. He followed me down and lit me on fire with a Zippo,” she said.

Amy says he then went toward the house. Her kids were inside. As she was there burning, she used herself as a shield between her husband and children.

“I stood there burning longer to prevent him from getting in to the kids. Had I been able to stop, drop and roll right away, I probably wouldn’t have gotten as badly burned,” she explained.

Eventually, Donn took off. But not before giving Amy one last message.

“He said before he drove off, ‘I love you.’ And, he was gone,” Amy said.

Payton heard her mother’s screams and ran outside.

“It all happened so fast. I thought it was just a dream,” Payton said.

Her oldest daughter Tori was also home.

“I had asked where my father was and they said he drove away,” Tori said.

Donn had taken off and crashed into a semi truck on I-65 near Greenwood. He was driving in the wrong direction and died due to the crash. In the meantime, his daughter’s rushed to their mom’s aid.

Keever recounted what one of her daughters said to her immediately after as her skin was hanging from her arm.

“‘Mom, is that your shirt?’ I said ‘that’s not my shirt.’ That was my flesh,” Amy recalled.

After more than two months in a coma and another month in rehab, Amy still has the heart to forgive.

“Donn was the father of my children and my husband for a very long time. He was only that monster for a half hour,” Amy said.

Amy believes her husband suffered from mental illness and did not seek treatment. She says he did not have a history of violence. According to Amy, he left her and it wasn’t until she started dating that he became aggressive. She wanted to share her story in hopes of encouraging others who suffer from, or know anyone who suffers from mental illness, to seek treatment.

The road to recover isn’t over. Amy still has multiple surgeries ahead, including some reconstructive procedures. She is in debt more than $20,000. Her family has set up a GoFundMe page. If you would like to  help out, click here.

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