Man charged in daughter's scalding HOWARD COUNTY

November 21, 1992|By Alan J. Craver | Alan J. Craver,Staff Writer

A Columbia man has been charged with reckless endangerment after leaving his 10-week-old daughter in a tub of scalding water while he talked on the telephone, police said.

John Matthew Walton, 22, was arrested Thursday after investigators were called to the pediatric department of the Columbia Medical Center, where the infant was being treated for burns over 80 percent of her body.

The girl, Allyson Walton, had first-, second- and third-degree burns on her chest, right arm, neck, buttocks and vaginal area, police said. She was taken to Children's Hospital in Washington, where she is listed in critical condition, a hospital spokesman said.

A police officer testing the hot water from the faucet found that it reached a maximum temperature of nearly 128 degrees, a report says.

Mr. Walton gave police the following statement:

He was bathing his daughter in a small bathtub which had been placed in the kitchen sink at the family's Harpers Choice home in the 5900 block of Grand Banks Road at 11 a.m. Monday.

The girl urinated and defecated in the water, and her father emptied the tub and started refilling it when the telephone rang.

Mr. Walton spent about four minutes on the phone while leaving the girl in the tub that was being filled with hot water. He told police that he did not hear the child crying because a stereo was playing and he was holding a finger to his ear while on the telephone.

"[Mr. Walton] turned back to the sink not realizing that the water had been running while he was on the phone," a police report says. "He saw the victim thrashing in the now steamy hot water which had by now filled her tub and was spilling over the sides."

The father took the girl out of the tub and dried her skin with a towel. "[The girl] was now crying and pieces of skin were rubbing off on the towel," police said.

Mr. Walton put lotion and ointment on the girl, dressed her and put her in a crib to sleep.

The defendant then called his wife at work to tell her about the burns. After Mrs. Walton came home at 1:45 p.m. the couple took the infant to the urgent care unit at the medical center for treatment.

If convicted, Mr. Walton faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and fines up to $5,000. He has been released on his own recognizance.

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