HOUSTON – Police were on the hunt Tuesday for a woman accused of scalding her 2-year-old niece’s feet with hot bathwater and neglecting to get medical attention for the girl.
Shamonique Luchin, 24, is charged with injury to a child.
The victim’s mother, Luqretia Jones, 25, is charged with injury to a child by omission and was already in custody Tuesday.
According to court documents, Luchin was babysitting the girl at Jones’ Houston-area apartment on January 28, 2012, when the girl suffered second-degree burns.
Luchin told investigators that she was going to give the girl a bath, so she put her in the tub, started the water and left the room to grab some clothes.
While she was out of the room, she said she heard the victim scream.
When Luchin got back into the bathroom, she said the girl was out of the tub, and the hot water was on.
Luchin said the girl must have turned on the hot water while Luchin was out of the room.
But Luchin told investigators she was angry with the victim, and that she was "not going to get out of taking a bath," so she put the child back in the tub, this time with cold water.
Luchin said she scrubbed the child’s body with a towel and her burned feet with a towel and Dial soap.
As she scrubbed the girl’s feet, Luchin said she saw that the victim’s skin was peeling off onto the towel.
As the victim screamed, Luchin said she used scissors to cut the hanging skin off of the girl’s feet. She then took a photo of the injuries with her cell phone and sent it to Jones.
Jones told police she saw the photo and spoke on the phone to Luchin. But even though she heard her daughter screaming in the background, she decided that the girl did not need to go to the hospital, because she didn’t think the burns were that bad, and she didn’t have transportation at the time.
Luchin did not give the victim any pain medication for the injuries, according to court documents.
On January 31, Jones said she went to visit her daughter and noticed that the girl’s feet had open flesh exposed on them.
But Jones said she didn’t have any money to buy pain medication for her daughter, so she left her with Luchin again and returned on February 1.
That night, Jones said the girl wouldn’t stop screaming and she couldn’t sleep. So on February 2, Jones took the girl to Memorial Hermann Hospital, so she could get some rest.
Doctors said the victim had second-degree burns to both of her feet, and that the wounds were infected.
They said the injuries will cause permanent disfigurement.
Charges were filed against Luchin and Jones on February 17.
Police arrested Jones right away, but said Luchin remained at large Tuesday. Investigators said Luchin does not work, but occasionally babysits to earn money. They said she’s known to live in the Imperial Valley area.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts should contact HPD.