Pasco mom charged with murder in baby scalding case
NEW PORT RICHEY - The Pasco County Sheriff's Office has charged teenage mother Chekayla Dampier with second degree murder for allegedly scalding her 7-week-old baby so badly he died eight days later. Emilio Jesus Bautista, who died April 28, had burns over 21 percent of his body. Hillsborough County Associate Medical Examiner Leszek Chrostowski determined that complications from the burns caused Emilio's death, but they weren't his only injuries. The boy was also suffering from liver damage caused by blunt force trauma. Investigators questioned Dampier, 18, who was being held at the Land O'Lakes jail on aggravated child abuse charges. Dampier had already told investigators she put the child in an infant washtub and ran hot water on his head for two to three minutes because he had been crying for hours.The baby boy was burned so severely that his skin bubbled and a nipple came off when his shirt was removed at the hospital. Forensic technicians measured the water at 142 degrees. "It's the most horrific child abuse case we've ever seen," Pasco Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said. When they asked her about Emilio's internal injuries, Dampier admitted that "a day or two before the burning incident, she hit the victim in the stomach and chest several times, until he vomited." Dampier had announced the baby's birth and posted a photo of him on her Facebook page. Her last post, on March 17, read "MOMMY AND DADDY LOVE U EMILIO.'' Maria Fernandez, who said she was going to be Emilio's godmother, rushed Dampier and the baby to North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey on April 16 – the night of the burning incident. She said she was devastated to hear that Dampier had admitted to hurting the baby. "She loved the baby," Fernandez said. "In my heart, I don't want to believe she did it." Assistant State Attorney Eva Vergos said Dampier's first appearance and bond hearing on the second-degree murder charge will take place Thursday afternoon.
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