JPD: Child suffers burns playing with cigarette lighter | News
Jonesboro police say a five-year-old boy suffered burns to his hands and torso when he set his shirt on fire while playing with a cigarette lighter.
Just after 5:30 Monday morning officers were called to St. Bernards Regional Medical Center. When officers arrived they found the boy suffering from first- and second-degree burns to his “lower abdomen, fingertips of both hands, right forearm and left palm.”
According to Officer Asa Ladd’s initial report, the 26-year-old mother said she had allowed the boy and her five other children to stay up late to watch movies in the living room.
The woman said she and her girlfriend fell asleep around 12:30 a.m. in her bedroom. She told police she awoke around 3 a.m. to her “child screaming for help.”
According to the police report, the mother rushed to the living room and found her son crying. His shirt had been burned “approximately 8 inches up from the bottom of the shirt and approximately 7 inches across.”
The mother told police she took the shirt off and found the burns on his body. She then put a new shirt on the child and took him to the hospital’s emergency room.
The mother claimed she kept her cigarette lighter on top of the refrigerator. But, police say the boy and his grandmother told them she kept the lighter in the bathroom where she would go to smoke.
The child reportedly told police he waited until everyone had fallen asleep and then went into the bathroom and retrieved the lighter from the top of the toilet and “burned his shirt.”
Officers who went to the home reported finding the child’s burned clothing as well as cigarette ashes in the bathroom sink.
Arkansas State Police Child Abuse Investigator Renee Owens reportedly told police the mother had been under investigation with the Department of Human Services for allegedly threatening to “kick one of the children in the head.” According to Officer Ladd’s report, the mother confirmed she had just received custody of her children again in October and that the case against her had been closed on December 5, 2012.
The child was left in the care of St. Bernards for treatment and the case was turned over to Investigator Owens.