A Houston woman has been arrested and charged in connection with the scalding death of a toddler whose injuries were so devastating that the skin around her elbows "slipped off" when she was removed from the boiling water.
20-year-old Carmen Pleasant was babysitting Nevaeh Cornwall, 2, and a younger sibling on July 31 when, according to court documents, she found the toddler in a tub full of scalding water so hot that the child eventually died from the injuries.
Pleasant and her boyfriend, Charles Gibson, told investigators that they had been watching Neveah and her younger sibling since July 28, and had taken both children out of town for a family reunion, according to court documents.
The couple told investigators they returned to their Houston apartment the morning of July 31, and shortly after returning, Pleasant ran hot bath water for Nevaeh. She then left the room to make breakfast.
While in the kitchen, Pleasant heard screaming, according to the documents, and returned to the bathroom to find the toddler "on her butt" in the water.
Pleasant told investigators she called for Gibson, who retrieved Nevaeh from the scalding water, and as Gibson pulled the child from the tub, "the skin around her elbows began to slip from her arms."
Pleasant told investigators that they sent photos of the wounds on Nevaeh's butt and arms, along with text messages explaining the incident to Nevaeh's mother, who told them to put some ointment on the wounds.
According to Pleasant, Nevaeh was acting fine after the ointment was applied -- despite the skin being scalded off her arms -- and the toddler spent the afternoon playing, even going outside at points.
Pleasant told investigators she only noticed the child was in distress when Charles Gibson woke Nevaeh from her nap and noticed the child, who now apparently had massive burns over the majority of her body, was having difficulty breathing.
A emergency call was finally placed at 8:47 p.m., July 31, in which Pleasant told the dispatcher that the child had been burned in the bathtub about 4 p.m.
A subsequent investigation into the time that the text messages were first sent to Nevaeh's mother, however, revealed that the first text message about the child's injuries was sent about 10:50 a.m., according to the documents.
An autopsy later revealed that Nevaeh had 3rd degree burns over a large portion of her torso and extremities, and the toddler's death was ruled a homicide by the medical examiner, according to the documents in the case.
Pleasant appeared in court Tuesday morning on charges of injury to a child/serious bodily injury, and is being held in the Harris County Jail on $50,000 bond.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.