Mother charged for not taking burned baby to hospital

JONESBORO, Ark. – A 2-year-old baby with a severe, untreated burn was never taken to the hospital by the mother, according to the police report.

Now, she’s facing a felony charge of child endangerment.

Jonesboro police responded to 952 West Cherry Street on Sunday after a concerned grandmother called dispatch to say her grandchild needed medical treatment for a burn which happened days before.

“The mother was refusing to seek medical,” treatment, the grandmother told dispatch.

Officers met with Merenda Thomas, 35, of Jonesboro at the residence. According to Cpl.


John Shipman with Jonesboro Police Department, seven children ranging from the 2-year-old baby to a 14-year-old were present.

When Shipman saw the baby, he saw a “large” and “untreated” burn covering the entire inside of her right thigh. It was up to three inches wide in places and up to five inches long.

Shipman wrote the skin was pink, reddish, with spots of cracking and bleeding. The right arm had burn marks. One officer said blisters had already popped on the burn, per the mother’s account.

Officers asked the mother what happened and reported she said the baby was taking a bath in the sink when her 12-year-old son poured hot water from boiling rice into the sink next to her and it got onto the baby.

She then told officers she took the child to NEA Baptist hospital, had been seen, but had not been able to afford the prescription. Conveniently, she had thrown the prescription and paperwork from the hospital away.

Confronted, she admitted to officers she had told them a lie and never took the baby to the hospital at all, the report details.

The mother continued speaking to officers, informing them the burn happened four days prior because her 12-year-old son poured hot, boiling water onto the baby, “trying to give her a bath.” The reason for this, the report continues, is because the hot water heater had broken. The mother reportedly told officers she had not contacted the landlord about the issue.

When the officer asked the 12-year-old boy about the incident, the child reportedly confirmed it and said the mother was home but was “in the living room having Bible study.”

The child was taken to St. Bernard’s Regional Medical Center for treatment but it was suggested the victim be taken to the burn center in Little Rock.

The mother, Thomas, was arrested and charged with felony first degree endangering the welfare of a minor. She was taken to Craighead County Detention Center.

The remaining children were left in the care of the grandmother who contacted police.


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