ST. CLOUD, Fla. - A 6-year-old girl remains in Arnold Palmer Hospital, recovering from third-degree burns she said were inflicted by her mother and her mother's boyfriend, according to police.
Yadzia Morales, 32, and her boyfriend, Roberto Lopez, 20, were arrested Thursday after police said they confessed to pouring boiling water onto the girl as a form of punishment.
Police said Morales boiled the water for two minutes in a microwave before the couple poured it on the child on Tuesday.
A representative for the Department of Children and Families said the child has third-degree burns on 30 percent of her body, including her neck, shoulders and face.
Police said the couple admitted they were angry the girl was crying, so they decided to punish her.
Morales had no explanation for her actions as she left the St. Cloud Police Department on her way to the Osceola County Jail. Lopez, however, said he felt bad about the incident.
"It's just not what it seems," Lopez told Local 6. "I was not inside the bathroom. That's all I can say."
Police said they fear this is not the first time the child has been abused. A week ago, they said the girl was placed in a scalding shower.
"I am completely stunned," said Virginia Anderson, director of The Shepherd's Little Family Child Care Center in St. Cloud. "She texted me this morning at 2:30 in the morning. I got the text this morning at 8:30 that she wasn't coming in because her daughter was at the emergency room."
Anderson said Morales worked as an assistant and was hired a week ago, but has always been good with children.
"She has a lot of experience working with children. I checked all her background, everything's clear. Very good background," said Anderson.
DCF is also investigating to see how long the child may have been abused, but went on to say the child recently moved from Puerto Rico to live with her mother.
Police said they learned of the abuse after the boyfriend's mother babysat the girl and noticed the injuries. That's when the child told her babysitter how her parents punished her.
Both have been charged with aggravated child abuse, child neglect causing great bodily harm, aggravated battery and domestic violence.
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