A 13-month old boy remained in critical condition at a Shreveport burn center this morning, severely scalded from an intentional burning reportedly at the hands of his mother and her boyfriend, an Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office spokesman said.
Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Ryan Turner said deputies were called to a local hospital around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday in response to a baby whose skin was covered in burns.
Investigators later determined the baby was burned on purpose and arrested his mother, Chiquita Bell
, 25, and her boyfriend, Tristain Bartley
, 27, both of New Iberia. The couple were charged with second-degree cruelty to a juvenile, with Bell also being charged with accessory after the fact. Bartley was later charged with probation violation.
The Sheriff’s Office released few details on the case, citing the pending investigation, but Turner said detectives believe the couple purposely scalded the baby with hot water
The baby was taken to the LSU Regional Burn Center in Shreveport, where he was in critical but stable condition this morning, Turner said.
Bell reportedly took her son to the hospital after he was burned at her St. Joseph Street home. She was later charged as an accessory for hindering the investigation, Turner said, giving an excuse to hospital workers when she explained what happened to her baby.
Turner would not release how the couple reportedly scalded the baby or a possible motive. “We won’t give out specific details as to how or what took place,” Turner said. “It’s still early in the investigation.”
The second-degree cruelty charges can be amended to more serious or lesser offenses at the discretion of the 16th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Turner said. The Sheriff’s Office did not arrest the couple for attempted homicide because “at this time, we believe the intent was to severely injure the baby,”