Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco mother appears in court on charges of murdering son

Chekayla Ariel Dampier, 18, is accused of holding her 7-week-old son under hot running water. He later died. 


Chekayla Ariel Dampier, 18, is accused of holding her 7-week-old son under hot running water. He later died. 

NEW PORT RICHEY — The 18-year-old mother accused of holding her infant son under scalding water for several minutes made her first court appearance Thursday since authorities filed a new second-degree murder charge against her.

Speaking softly, Chekayla Ariel Dampier answered questions from Circuit Judge Mary Handsel, saying she understood the charge and could not afford a lawyer. The judge appointed her a public defender. Asked whether she wanted to make any other statements, Dampier declined.

A Pasco County Sheriff's Office report says Dampier held her 7-week-old son, Emilio Jesus Bautista, under hot running water for two to three minutes until his skin started "coming off and other parts of his skin were 'bubbling.' "

Investigators said the water measured 142 degrees, and the medical examiner's office said the boy had burns covering 21 percent of his body.

Dampier told deputies she held her son under the water because he wouldn't stop crying, authorities say.

She was charged with aggravated child abuse after the April 16 incident, but the charge was upgraded to murder this week after Emilio died Saturday from his injuries.

Doctors at Tampa General Hospital also found that Emilio had liver damage from blunt force trauma. According to an updated sheriff's 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," the report says.

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.

Pasco mother appears in court on charges of murdering son 05/03/12 [Last modified: Thursday, May 3, 2012 7:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Bicyclist struck in St. Petersburg dies as result of injuries


    ST. PETERSBURG — A bicyclist who police said ran a red light and was struck by a car last week died over the weekend.

  2. Eight Gators, including Antonio Callaway and Jordan Scarlett, face felony fraud accusations


    At least eight Florida Gators face potential felony charges on accusations of fraud, according to Alachua County court records.

    Star receiver Antonio Callaway is among at least four Florida Gators who face potential felony charges on accusations of fraud.
  3. Photo of the Day for September 25, 2017 - Tufted Titmouse

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Christopher Woods of Palm Harbor, FL. He calls it "Tufted Titmouse."

  4. Drs. Kiran and Pallavi Patel, prolific Tampa Bay philanthropists, are putting up $200 million to create and run a new medical school under Nova Southeastern University. Here is a rendering of the proposed campus [Courtesy of Southestern Noval University}
  5. Two new condo projects for same street in downtown St. Pete

    Real Estate

    ST. PETERSBURG — It lacks the panache and name recognition of Beach Drive, but 4th Avenue N in downtown St. Petersburg is becoming a condo row in its own right.

    Bezu, a condo project planned at 100 4th Ave. N in downtown St. Petersburg, will have 24 units including a three-level penthouse with infinity pool.
[Courtesy of Clear ph Design]