Local News

Mother Of Scalded Baby Tells Varying Stories

Posted March 21, 1996 6:00 a.m. EST

— March 22, 1996 - 3:40 p.m. EST

An 18-year-old mother has told at least three different stories about how her infant daughter was burned, according to rescue workers.

Seven-week-old Tia Christina Jones is fighting for her life at the UNC Burn Center with severe burns over 70 percent of her body. Her mother, Lakesha Michele Johnson (pictured, left) is in the Durham County Jail charged with felony child abuse. Her bail is set at $70,000.

If the baby dies, which would not be unusual given her age and the severity of her injuries, the mother will face murder charges, according to police.

Johnson told police that she put the baby in the bathtub at about noon Wednesday, turned the water on and left it running while she went to the kitchen. When she heard the baby scream, according to Sgt. J.T. Morris, she ran back to the bathroom and found Tia burned by scalding water coming from the tap.

Investigators tested water from the tap and found it to be hot enough to have burned the baby, but police say the nature of Tia's injuries are not consistent with Johnson's story.

They say they believe Tia was dunked in the scalding water.

Tia's condition is listed as critical. Johnson's other child, born in 1994 when Johnson was a freshman at Hillside High School, has been taken into the custody of Durham County Social Services