A California couple is facing criminal charges for allegedly failing to seek medical treatment for a 3-year-old girl with severe burns, KTXL-TV reports.
Authorities in Sacramento, California, have charged 29-year-old John Lolley and 25-year-old Karina Feliz Davis with endangering the life or health of a child.
Lolley is the child’s father and Davis is her stepmother.
Davis was caring for the girl when, on July 31, the toddler was in the kitchen and pulled hot soup onto her head.
She sustained third-degree burns, which have been described as “horrific,” the television station reports.
Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Shaun Hampton said the burns cover the top of the toddler’s head, face, cheeks, lips and chin.
While Davis reportedly applied aloe vera to the burns, the girl’s maternal grandmother later visited the residence and asked that authorities check on child’s welfare.
How police initially handled the situation has been questioned. Patricia McCoy, the toddler’s biological mother, told the television station that deputies did check on the girl but believed the injuries were minor.
The following morning, a child welfare agent made a stop at the home and concluded that she should be hospitalized.
That was 10 days after the incident. The girl has since undergone multiple skin grafts and is still in the hospital.
Sheriff’s officials were not available to respond to McCoy’s claim that deputies did not seek medical treatment for the child, the television station reports.
But Hampton did say earlier that adults caring for children have a responsibility to ensure they get adequate medical treatment for injuries.
“You have to watch any children you are in the care and custody of,” Hampton said. “And when those children become injured it is your duty as an adult to find aid for them and make sure they receive proper medical attention.”
McCoy further alleged that Lolley and Davis were not adequately feeding her daughter. She said the girl weighed only 19 pounds when she was admitted to the hospital.
“For a 3-year-old she looks like a 1-year-old,” McCoy said.
A neighbor who asked not to be identified told KTXL-TV that Lolley and Davis didn’t have a vehicle, which may have contributed to their decision not to seek medical treatment.
The neighbor said he thought the couple “seemed like nice, functioning adults,” but acknowledged that they should have called 911.
Child welfare officials have taken custody of Lolley’s and Davis’ other children.