An Oklahoma woman was arrested after allegedly punishing her child with very hot baths, it was reported.
Mikell Wortham, 24, took her child to urgent care, and they found that he had second- and third-degree burns to his face, KJRH reported.
Wortham admitted to using hot water to punish the child, according to a police report. The child was also reportedly emaciated.
The young mother said she would treat burns with lotion and Vaseline.
When asked about the child being malnourished, Wortham said she didn’t have enough money to feed him.
NewsOn6.com reported that the child also had bruises.
Officers told the news website that she only took the child to urgent care because she was being evicted and could no longer hide the injuries inflicted on the child.
Neighbors of the woman were stunned.
“I don’t know what kind of person could do that to a child, to be honest with you. It’s pretty intense all by itself,” said Nick Teague, a neighbor.
“If I would have realized it I would have probably gone to jail for fighting, I would fight over somebody else’s kid,” added neighbor Jaquila Meeks.
At 4 years old, police told the news website that the boy weighed only 27 pounds.
“He had bruises all over his whole body. He had burn scars on his face from burns inflicted by the mother that were never treated,” said Tulsa Police Corporal Mark Kraft. “This is probably one of the worse neglect and abuse cases we’ve seen in a while,” added Kraft.
A neighbor said the abuse had been ongoing.
“I could hear her kid screaming through the apartment. Her whooping him, him telling her to stop. Her screaming her head off saying ‘Keep it down!’” neighbor Malia Factor said. Factor said that she reported the woman to local authorities, but, as she put it, “they wanted proof too, so there’s nothing I could do to save the kid or any of that.”
“I didn’t even know a kid lived up there. I could hear him. I’ve heard him scream and cry, but as for seeing him, I’ve never seen him a day in my life. I couldn’t tell you what he looks like, to be honest. That tells you how often she took him out,” said Teague.
The mother was arrested and booked into jail on child abuse charges. Her bail was set at $200,000. It’s unclear if she has an attorney.