Sunday, June 24, 2018
Public safety

Pasco mother charged with murder in scalding of baby

NEW PORT RICHEY — 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.

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