Jamie Lee Wilson, 21, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the death of Briana Faucette, who suffered second- and third-degree burns on more than 40 percent of her body.
"They were second- and third-degree burns caused by hot scalding water," said Orange County District Attorney Jim Woodall.
According to a
released Thursday, investigators said Wilson told them that she spilled boiling water on the floor and that Briana sat in it.
But Woodall said Wilson has changed her story a number of times during the investigation and believes the little girl was put into a tub of hot water. Deputies took a temperature sample of water in the home that measured 140 degrees.
Investigators also took several items from Wilson's home including clothing, hair and possibly skin found on a dog food bag.
Woodall said that Wilson did not just burn the toddler, but left her dying in the house for hours before calling for help. When paramedics arrived, they found Briana already dead.
Although he would not give any more details, Woodall also suggested in court that there may have been prior instances of child abuse, saying there were other injuries that were not burns on the child.
Authorities said Wilson is a friend of the victim's mother and that Briana's parents were not local residents of Orange County. They declined to talk about what happened, but Woodall said Wilson often took care of Briana and her younger sister, who was in the home at the time of the incident but was not hurt.
Wilson is being held without bond in Orange County Jail. Her next court appearance is scheduled fro Dec. 30.