A Tennessee couple is being held on $750,000 bail after a three-year-old boy was found to have severe second-degree burns covering “85 percent of his body,” according to initial reports.
On Sept. 16, Nakita Morton, 22, allegedly decided to leave her three-old-child, Zander Brown, in the care of his step-father, Eric Morton, 31.
According to officials, the alleged abuse took place before 10 a.m., and upon returning home, Nakita was made aware of the severe burns but elected not to seek medical attention in fear of child services or police involvement.
Nakita’s parents returned home around 11:30 a.m. and urged the couple to let them take Zander to the hospital. After an hour of convincing, the couple finally allowed the child’s grandparents to take Zander to LaFollette Medical Center, where it was later discovered that the child’s injuries included various bruises along with severe burns on his extremities, back, abdomen and head.
Zander was quickly airlifted to Vanderbilt University Hospital where doctors determined that the injuries were not consistent with “accidental behavior.”
Eric and Nakita Morton were questioned and arrested by officers. Eric has been charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect due to his alleged failure to seek medical attention for the child. Nikita has also been charged with neglect for allegedly trying to avoid child services at the expense of her young son.
While the investigation is ongoing, authorities say they are still not able to identify what was used to cause the burns. Both Eric and Nakita claim to be innocent.
Zander continues to recover in Vanderbilt University Hospital where he remains in critical but stable condition.
Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins told reporters that he is actively seeking justice for Zander: “We feel like we're his voice and we want to get him justice.
"We are saddened by the horrific acts that we believe this child suffered through the abuse and neglect of both individuals respectively charged in this crime. Unspeakable acts of child abuse and neglect will not stand by any of us. Our prayers will continue to flow above for this child's care, health, and full recovery.”
Sources: Daily Mail