Girl, 2, burned and beaten

October 19, 1994|By Richard Irwin | Richard Irwin,Sun Staff Writer

A mother and her live-in boyfriend are being held today after a severe beating left the mother's 2-year-old daughter in critical condition.

Police said the girl had been beaten and burned with cigarettes and an electrical appliance that left third-degree burns on her body.

Serrena Coates' face was swollen and her eyes puffed and swollen shut as she battled to stay alive at the Johns Hopkins Hospital pediatric intensive care unit today, said Officer Iman Mahmoud of the Southwestern District.

The child's mother, Ann Brown, 25, of the 4600 block of Manordene Road, was arrested last night and charged with child neglect and reckless endangerment and was being held at the women's detention center pending a bail hearing today.

Ms. Brown's unemployed live-in boyfriend, James McArthur, 18, was charged with child abuse, battery and assault and was being held at the Southwestern District pending a bail hearing today.

Officer Mahmoud said authorities learned of the child's condition around 9 p.m. yesterday when Ms. Brown went to a neighbor's apartment to summon an ambulance for her injured daughter, who had stopped breathing.

The neighbor dialed 911.

Responding medics revived the child at the scene and called police before taking her to the hospital.

After interviewing the woman at her apartment, police notified Mr. McArthur's mother, who paged her son and told him that police wanted to talk to him.

Mr. McArthur arrived at the police station late last night and was charged after an interview.

Ms. Brown was charged at the women's detention center.

The mother, Officer Mahmoud reported, said her boyfriend often argued with her and took his anger out on the 2-year-old girl. The woman's 3-year-old daughter was not abused and is in the care of relatives.

The officer said Serrena's right thigh was severely burned with some kind of appliance and that her head, face, eyes and neck showed signs of a beating.

"She also had old and fresh cigarette burns over her body," Officer Mahmoud said.

Mr. McArthur told police the child's head injuries were the result of her falling off a bed and that the burns on her right thigh occurred when the child stepped into a tub of hot water prior to a bath when Mr. McArthur turned away for a moment.

Officer Mahmoud said the thigh burns could not have come from hot bath water because the child's feet were not burned and that the head injuries were not consistent with a child falling off a bed only 18 inches above the floor.

Officer Mahmoud said the case remains under investigation and that the city's social services office is assisting.

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