A Georgia teenager and her aunt have been arrested for the death of a toddler who was fatally burned after being placed in a tub of hot water as punishment.
According to NBC News, the tragic incident happened Friday (Feb 19) when authorities were called to the family’s home in Jonesboro regarding the report of a child having trouble breathing. Jamal Dunlap, 4, was found with 40 percent of his body covered in second and third-degree burns. The toddler died later that afternoon at a local hospital.
Police arrested Aleisha Harris, 30, and Jamal’s sister Staci Dunlap, 15, on Thursday. Dunlap has been charged as an adult after police discovered she held Jamal in the tub of hot water after he urinated on himself. Before the alleged punishment, she also beat him with a leather belt. Harris was aware of the abuse, but didn’t report it to police for a full day. Police believe the delayed treatment played a part in the child’s death.
Family members took to social media to respond:
Harris’ brother told Channel 2 Action News his sister didn’t take the child to the hospital because she didn’t know whether he had health insurance. He also claimed the children were abandoned by their parents.
Via The AJC:
He said Harris was taking care of the children because their parents left them with the family and never returned to get them.
“The sister said he needed to be in the bath because he peed on himself,” Harris’ brother told Channel 2. “We don’t know if they have insurance or not, so my sister was just taking care of him,” he said.
Both Harris and Dunlap are being held in Clayton County Jail without bond.