Demar Barnes, 20 has been arrested after his wife’s son was taken to the hospital with severe burns.
Dialasia Williamson, the mother was visiting New York while her husband, the stepfather, took care of the boy, Kevion. She allegedly called home a number of times and Barnes did tell her of an “incident” but allegedly downplayed the severity of the injuries. A neighbor was concerned as well and contacted Williamson. Finally Williamson became concerned enough that she returned home on May 2 and found her son badly burned.
She then called 911 and police responded, transporting 2-year-old Kevion to University Medical Center. It is not known if Williamson asked to speak to her child since most 2 year old children with normal development are expected to have a vocabulary of approximately 50 words or if she knew of any prior abuse of her child at the hands of Barnes. The boy did suffer a broken clavicle which both parents allege occurred when he fell out of a cart in a Walmart parking lot and landed on his head.
Barnes, who has served time in jail for domestic abuse told police that he didn’t know the water was that hot even after he heard the child scream. He said that a shower curtain fell and that he removed Devion briefly from the water and then placed him back in. When he finally removed the child from the water, which according to him was 15 minutes later, the skin allegedly rolled off Devion’s legs. Most would expect an average intelligence adult to recognize that as a sign of a very severe burn. Barnes statements to police allegedly indicate that the did not know the water was scaling hot. Barnes did not call an ambulance and attempted to treat the burns himself stuffing paper in to the burns
Devion remains in critic condition and had to have surgery due to the paper being stuffed in to his wounds.
The incidents of child abuse by step parents has been a growing concern in recent years. Parents are urged to really pay attention to their children’s mannerisms to help determine if they are being abused and not turn a blind eye to their spouses or partners actions in order to appropriately protect their children.
The U.S. Department of Health Services has an excellent fact sheet, “Recognizing Child Abuse and Neglect: Signs and Symptoms” which can be found here.