NEW PORT RICHEY
Scalded son's death brings murder charge
Authorities have filed second-degree murder charges against the 18-year-old mother accused of holding her baby under scalding hot water because he wouldn't stop crying. Chekayla Ariel Dampier held her 7-week-old son, Emilio Jesus Bautista, under the hot running water for 2 to 3 minutes, until his skin started "coming off and other parts of his skin were 'bubbling,' " a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report said. Investigators said the water measured at 142 degrees. Dampier was charged with aggravated child abuse after the April 16 incident. After Emilio died Saturday from his injuries, deputies upgraded the charge on Wednesday to murder. The medical examiner determined Emilio had scalding burns covering 21 percent of his body. The doctors at Tampa General Hospital also found that Emilio had liver damage from blunt force trauma. In an updated Sheriff's Office report released Wednesday, Dampier told detectives that a day or two before the burning incident, she "hit the victim in the stomach and chest several times, until he vomited." She told detectives she hit her son "because he was crying and bloated." Family and friends of the teen said she was a single mother with a history of problems. Dampier, of Port Richey, is being held at the Land O'Lakes jail without bail.
Asian Buffet's payroll stolen
Pasco sheriff's deputies are searching for a woman who stole a bag containing $14,000 — the cash payroll for the Asian Buffet. A group entered the restaurant at 1742 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. the afternoon of April 2 and asked for a large table, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. As the host was arranging tables for them, one person in the group went behind the counter and grabbed the bag containing the cash, as well as a gold necklace. The group then quickly left, authorities said. Security cameras captured images of the group and the person who stole the bag. Authorities described that suspect as a white woman who is heavy-set, with brown hair, gold hoop earrings and a gray shirt. Anyone with any information may contact Detective David Duff toll-free at 1-800-854-2862, ext. 5022.