ST. PETERSBURG — When the 11-year-old disabled boy came to school with a severe burn on his arm, an administrator called home.
When asked about the 3-inch long burn, the mother said she didn't have a clue.
Not only did she know, police said, the mother of five was the reason her son was so badly burned.
Latasha Yvette Hatcher, 27, was arrested Thursday evening at her St. Petersburg home, 2046 15th Avenue S. She has been charged with two counts of child abuse and child neglect.
Her five children — a 4-month-old infant, 5-year-old girl, 6-year-old boy, 7-year-old boy and the 11-year-old — were removed from the home by the Department of Children and Families.
Child protection investigators visited the home Thursday afternoon after school officials reported being suspicious of the 11-year-old's burn wound.
It is believed the burn marks and blisters on the boy's arm are the result of his skin being seared with boiling liquid.
Hatcher told investigators the 11-year-old probably burned himself, said police spokesman Mike Puetz.
But an unidentified woman who lives in the house with Hatcher and the children told officials she heard the boy's screams coming from another room in the house sometime after midnight. Later, she said, Hatcher mentioned "striking the boy" for vomiting on her.
She said this wasn't the first time Hatcher hurt one of the children, according to Puetz.
The woman told officers she saw Hatcher whip the 5-year-old girl, who is also severely disabled and has trouble communicating.
The woman alleged Hatcher used a plastic coat hanger to brutally beat the girl several weeks ago, Puetz said.
Officers found scars on the girl's back consistent with a whipping.
Hatcher has been in legal trouble before for aggravated battery, according to jail records.
It was not immediately clear whether the children have contact with their fathers.
An investigation is ongoing.
Contact Marissa Lang at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3386.