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Tuesday, Nov 21, 2017
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Deputies: Pasco baby scalded by mother dies

The 7-week-old baby held under scalding water by his Port Richey mother this month has died, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said today. Detectives have confirmed that Emilio Jesus Bautista, severely burned when his mother Chekayla Dampier allegedly placed him under scalding water for several minutes, died this morning at Tampa General Hospital. Chekayla Ariel Dampier, 18, was arrested April 17 and charged with aggravated child abuse. She is being held at the Land O' Lakes jail. Her bond was set at $150,000. There was no immediate word on additional charges.
The baby boy was burned so severely that his skin bubbled and a nipple came off when his shirt was removed at the hospital. Dampier told Pasco County Sheriff's investigators she was "frustrated" because the baby was crying "for hours," according to a detective's affidavit. She said she put the child in an infant washtub and ran hot water onto his head for two to three minutes because he had been crying for hours, according to detectives. Forensic technicians measured the water at 142 degrees. Dampier said the baby's skin was bubbling and parts of it came off when she tried to dry him with a towel, the affidavit said. Maria Fernandez, who described herself as the baby's godmother, said Dampier called her April 17 because she was concerned about the baby. Dampier initially blamed someone else for the baby's injuries. "When I see the baby, I say, 'No - that's not normal,' " Fernandez said. "The baby was different. I was so scared and nervous, I got sick. I threw up and my body was shaking." Fernandez said she rushed Dampier and the baby to North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey. The boy was eventually taken by helicopter to the pediatric burn unit at Tampa General Hospital, according to the affidavit. Physicians said the child suffered severe second-degree burns to his head, chest, arms, eyes and ears, according to the affidavit. When medical staff removed his shirt, his left nipple pulled away, the affidavit said. On Dampier’s Facebook page, she posted that Emilio was born Feb. 20 and was 6 pounds and 4 ounces and 18 inches at birth. Her most recent entry was March 20. It reads: "MOMMY AND DADDY LOVE U EMILIO."    

Reporter Laura Kinsler contributed to this report.

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