Freeport man and woman charged after child, 3, burned

June 5, 2013 4:07:44 PM PDT
Disturbing allegations of abuse against a mother and her boyfriend, accused of punishing a little girl by scalding her with hot water. The burns are so severe, she's now in intensive care.

The mother and boyfriend are both in custody. The three-year-old girl suffered severe burns -- the worst one detective says she's seen in her 22 years of investigating child abuse cases.

Investigators say the three-year-old was living with her mother and her boyfriend inside a trailer off FM 523 in Brazoria County. They say Brad Barker, 26, intentionally burned the girl with scalding water as a form of punishment for supposedly lying to him.

"They were inflicted when the suspect took the child, put her in the bathtub and sprayed water, hot scalding water from a detachable shower head in the shower," said Investigator Paige Newsom with the Brazoria County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities say that happened at the home on May 24 and that the child wasn't taken to the hospital for eight days -- not until June 1.

"The mother said they didn't think the burns were serious enough to take her to the doctor and she was afraid to lose her children," Newsom explained.

Mandy Milstead and Barker are charged with injury to a child. Investigators say she faces that charge because she didn't do anything to stop the abuse and didn't seek medical help for so long. Milstead's uncle, George Skidmore, however, defends her.

"That mama wouldn't have done that," he said. "That mama wouldn't have done that and I'll swear on a stack of Bibles. That mama wouldn't have done that."

The mother and boyfriend could be sent to prison for up to 99 years if convicted. The little girl remains in ICU at the Shriner's burn unit in Galveston.

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