"She fought so hard," says Dan Bowes of his stepdaughter, Judy Malinowski. The Ohio woman was left disfigured and bedridden in a hospital after her ex-boyfriend doused her in gasoline and set her on fire on Aug. 2, 2015. "No one expected that she'd make it 48 hours," Bowes tells the Columbus Dispatch. The mother of two—who underwent 59 surgeries, per WCMH—instead made it 696 days, dying Tuesday at age 33. An official cause of death has not been released. However, officials with the Franklin County Coroner's Office expect an autopsy will show she died as a result of injuries from the attack, which literally melted parts of her body. In fact, prosecutor Ron O'Brien is already building a homicide case against Malinowski’s attacker.
In December, Michael Slager, 42, was sentenced to the maximum 11 years for felonious assault, aggravated arson, and possession of criminal tools. But O'Brien says it was always his office's intention "to pursue a homicide charge" if Malinowski died. Before her death, Malinowski helped inspire Judy's Law, which would allow for longer sentences in cases where victims are permanently disfigured or incapacitated from the use of an accelerant. The Ohio Senate is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday or Thursday, per WSYX. State Rep. Jim Hughes, who introduced it, tells the Dispatch that Malinowski refused to take her pain meds when she first met him "so that she could be her sharpest, at her best, to explain why this legislation was so important." Hughes calls her an "inspiration." (This woman was burned alive.)