Head lice: the scourge of young parents everywhere. What mom has not seen her child come home from school with a scalp full of the itchy little critters. There are a number of safe, medical treatments for this uncomfortable condition. Unfortunately, Shana Suggs of Haileyville, Okla., did not use one of them.
Suggs, 25, sits in jail today after pouring gasoline on her 5-year-old daughter’s head in a misguided attempt to remove the infesting insects from the little girl’s scalp. While Suggs was sensible enough not to light the gasoline on fire of he own accord, what happened next landed the girl in Tulsa Burn Center and a Texas Shriner’s Hospital.
The incident took place in January of this year, according to prosecutors, who have charged Suggs with child abuse. Suggs applied the hazardous home remedy to her child in a bathroom that also contained a hot water heater.
“We believe the house filled with fumes and the hot water tank ignited, which caught the girl’s hair on fire,” said Haileyville Assistant Police Chief Ronnie Steudeman. “It’s just a horrible deal.”
Suggs’ boyfriend, Dylan Webster, heard screams from the bathroom, according to police. He found both Suggs and her daughter aflame. He was able to douse the fire by throwing a jacket over the child, he told police.
Suggs remains held in Pittsburg County jail on a $25,000 bond. Her next court date is August 16. If convicted, she could face up to a life term in prison.
The child suffered second and third-degree burns on more than 60 percent of her body. Since her release from hospital care, she was placed in state custody and now lives with members of her extended family in Oklahoma.
Suggs herself also suffered minor burns. Four other children were in the home at the time of the fire.