By Selwyn Harris
A local woman has faith that the Pahrump community will come together to support her niece who was nearly killed in a horrific act of violence early last month.
Alisa Lawrence is holding a charity car wash at Pahrump Valley Auto Plaza where proceeds will go to help pay medical bills.
During the early evening hours of August 3, Megan Kimbrough suffered third degree burns on more than 80 percent of her body after her husband allegedly doused her with gasoline and set the 26 year-old mother of two on fire.
Though the crime was committed in Lakeland, Fla., Lawrence said she is doing whatever she can in Pahrump to help her niece, who is still in intensive care at Tampa General Hospital’s Burn Unit.
Though Kimbrough remains in very critical condition, Lawrence said her niece is slowly improving.
“Doctors told her mom and dad who arrived there from Indiana and Washington that they did not expect Megan to live but she is overcoming all of those odds. Eight surgeries later, she is still kicking and doing much better every day. This week she just had her eighth skin graft and there’s another one scheduled for next week with skin that they harvested from the back of her calves,” she said.
Lawrence said the couple had been married for about six years but just recently learned that both were going through some domestic issues.
“All of us were assuming that she may have been trying to leave him but instead this is what happened,” she said.
The attack made national headlines.
Lawrence said the suspect; Joshua Kimbrough was arrested the following day after surveillance video captured him on convenience store cameras where he was identified.
“He was apprehended the very next morning and he is awaiting whatever comes next in the county jail. He has several charges as well as premeditated attempted first-degree murder. He went on a crime spree after it happened,” she said.
According to law enforcement authorities in Florida, after leaving the scene, a shirtless Kimbrough allegedly entered the convenience store where he walked to the rear of the business and was later spotted exiting the store shirted and holding a fountain drink.
Police said Kimbrough then got into a 2006 Toyota Sienna in the store’s parking occupied by a woman and young girl where he threatened both with a handgun.
Authorities say the driver then exited the vehicle and distracted Kimbrough long enough to allow the girl to escape; he fled in the vehicle and later burglarized a home and stole a credit card, which he used at a nearby service station police said.
The details of the attack are beyond disturbing.
Lawrence said after allegedly setting his sleeping wife on fire, Kimbrough then blocked the door in an attempt to keep the woman from leaving the residence.
“Once he set Megan on fire he held the door closed so she couldn’t get out. She was sleeping in a reclining chair. The home that they were staying in wasn’t actually operated by anybody. It was just a home where people just came and went and it’s being torn down in November,” she said.
Lawrence also said that the actions of quick thinking neighbors are what saved the woman’s life.
“Megan finally got out of the house fully engulfed in flames. A gentleman working on his car with his young children outside said that when he looked up he thought he was looking at something from a movie; he told her to lay down on the ground because the grass was damp. He rolled her around on the grass to help put out the flames and then another neighbor brought a sheet and put it over her until paramedics arrived,” she said.
Lawrence also said neighbors witnessed the couple arguing on numerous occasions.
“They have seen them and heard them fight. Another gentleman said that there was a couple of times that he got in between Josh and Megan while telling him he should not be hitting her.
“It wasn’t anything unusual for the neighbors to hear them argue,” she said.
Though Lawrence never met Megan’s husband, she did note how she feels about the man.
“He’s a monster. Just straight up a monster. I don’t care what anyone does or what anyone’s lifestyle is, no one deserves that. I just don’t know of any kind of punishment that would be satisfactory to me. I feel that if he gets the death penalty, he gets off easy. In the state of Florida, it is lethal injection not electrocution so it’s an easy way out.
“If he doesn’t get the death penalty, he gets life in prison so that means he gets three meals a day. He has air conditioning when it’s hot and he gets heat when it is cold. He’ll have a TV and exercise room so he will be living better than our homeless people out on the streets,” she said.
Lawrence also described what happened in court when Kimbrough was arraigned two days after he was arrested.
“He was in front of the judge in his orange jumpsuit and when the prosecutor was telling the judge what the situation was and that the doctors were not expecting Megan to survive, he got nasty in court and threw up his arms and said that he was tired of this F-word show and sat down. He had no remorse whatsoever,” she tearfully said.
Lawrence noted that because of Megan, police were able to capture Kimbrough in relatively short order.
“Before she went unconscious, it was either the neighbor or a police officer who asked who did this to you? She said ‘my husband Joshua Kimbrough’ and then she fell unconscious for almost two weeks,” she said.
Megan Kimbrough is not out of the woods by a long shot.
Lawrence said she must still undergo a series of medical procedures and physical therapy as she recovers from her burns.
Lawrence said she is so very grateful that Pahrump Valley Auto Plaza is reaching out to help her niece by offering to hold the charity car wash.
General Manager Sheldon Feddy said he did not hesitate to assist when he heard about the horrible crime and the aftermath.
“We are going to do a car wash on Sept. 22. It’s just five bucks or even a donation of more. We’ll wash your car, we’ll supply free hot dogs and sodas from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to try and raise some money for this lady’s family. The story is a tearjerker and she had me crying when she told me the story. I have a big beautiful facility with lots of space. It doesn’t cost anything to help out and I like to help out,” Feddy said.
Lawrence meanwhile said those who cannot make it to the car wash may offer donations through an account set up at Nevada State Bank.
“Stephanie Williamson will have an account set up. She has been with the bank for seven years and many, many people in Pahrump know Stephanie and all they have to do is go there and she’s going to be handling all the funds,” she said.
Those who wish to offer words of encouragement and support may log on to <a href=megansoutreach26.org.