Woman put child's feet in boiling water causing 2nd-degree burns, police say

Holly Hill mother charged with child abuse

By Veronika Vernachio - Digital Intern

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A Holly Hill mother put her child's feet in scalding hot water causing second-degree burn, police said.

Sheretta Marie Harris, 22, initially informed investigators she put her 3-year-old child in the bathtub to clean him/her, turned on the hot water and burned their feet causing severe burns, according to the report.

 "It is a terrible case. It's very shocking," Holly Hill Police Chief Steve Aldrich said.

Police said Harris called 911 after the incident, and her child was immediately transported to Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach. 

"I was in the kitchen washing dishes and um, I heard water running. I guess he boo booed on himself and he tried to clean himself off, you know, bathe and stuff," Harris told a 911 operator.

In a recorded interview with police, Harris later said at approximately noon she was washing dishes and the three children were in the main room. Harris heard screaming and crying in the bathroom with the water running. Harris rushed over to the bathroom and noticed her child needed to be cleaned from their diaper, police said.

In Harris's second interview with police, she said one of her children managed to pull the bath water release valve from the tub and Harris discovered the water running was scalding hot.

Police explained to Harris they didn't believe anyone was intentionally harmed, and what happened was an accident. However, police found it hard to believe a child could have pulled the valve to release water because it was sticky and hard to pull, according to the report. 

Weeks later, police received a call from Harris's husband Dominick Daniels. In the phone call, Dominick told police he had spoke to Harris who told him she intentionally put the 3-year-old in scalding water because she was mad at him, police said.

She then left her child in the water while he/she was screaming with pain, police said.

"The temperature obviously, of the water coming out at the time, to cause the burns and the extent that they were, nobody would have stood in there for that length of time. Especially, a 3-year-old. It was just the totality of the circumstances," Aldrich said.

Harris only removed the child after she noticed his/her feet starting to blister and realized the seriousness of the injury, according to the report.

Dominick further informed police Harris admitted to him a year ago she became so angry with her child she yanked both arms with such great force she broke one of his/her arms, according to the report. 

Police said, when she brought the child to the hospital with the broken arm, she told them the incident stemmed from a stroller accident.

Dominick and Harris have been having difficulties in their marriage, but Dominick said he confidant in police because he was concerned for the safety of his three children, police said. 

Harris is in custody at the Holly Hill Police Department on a $15,000 bond. 

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