MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A mother arrested and accused of failing to get help for her 1-year-old who later died has lost custody of her other children.
In family court Friday, Judge Emilios Dimitrius ordered Christina Hurt’s five remaining children placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).
He granted visitation to their father, Taboris Coley, who was not married to and did not live with her.
This after Hurt’s 1-year-old boy was severely burned in a bath and later died from his injuries.
Hurt, who is charged with aggravated manslaughter, was ordered to be held on a 20,000 bond.
According to police, Hurt was taking the trash out at her home in the 12000 block of SW 217th Street in Goulds when her 10-year-old daughter attempted to bathe the baby, but another child, 4-years-old, turned the water to scalding hot.
The baby was severely burned from his torso to his toes.
Instead of seeking medical attention, police say, the mother called friends instead and tried home medical remedies.
The reason she didn’t get medical help, she told police: She didn’t want to lose custody of her children. Instead, she gave the baby — who threw up several times during the night — Tylenol and juice, according to the report.
On Thursday morning, she took her other children to school and then went to her friend’s home in Goulds, police said. She told police her baby was lethargic.
At about 11 a.m. the baby stopped breathing, according to the report. That’s when she took him outside and placed him on a mattress in the yard.
”We heard screams and hollering. My brother ran over to try to help with the situation, and found the baby, the one-year-old was lying on a dirty mattress, outside in the yard on a dirty, nasty mattress,” said neighbor Molita Cunningham.
Cunningham says it was her brother Randy Joseph who administered CPR until fire rescue arrived.
“And when the paramedic came, they zip his zipper jumper down. The paramedic said ‘Oh my god.’ I said ‘what the hell’,” recalled Joseph.
“She’s telling me, ‘Please save my baby. I do not want to go back to jail,” said Joseph.
The Department of Children and Families has investigated Hurt in the past for child neglect and she lost custody of her children.
According to a report at that time, she also failed to seek medical attention after another child fell off a bed and suffered a fractured skull.
Neighbors described Hurt as a devoted mother.
“That had to be an accident,” said Clare Dean. “She panicked. She panicked because she didn’t want to lose her kids again. She don’t deserve jail, imagine that she lost her baby and now prison. That’s a lot to bear.”
The Department of Children and Families issued a statement in the case saying,
“We are absolutely appalled by the alleged actions that lead to the tragic loss of this child. My heart breaks for him as his last moments were spent in agony because of a failure to seek immediate medical attention. No child deserves to go through this. DCF is providing the child’s siblings a safe home and care as they grieve the loss of their brother.”
Even Florida Governor Rick Scott joined in the discussion and calling for an improvement in child welfare laws.
“This is gut-wrenching and absolutely heartbreaking. At every level of this process and for every person which takes part in gathering information and making these life-changing decisions – we must do better. When we look at families involved in the child welfare system, we must demand that parents are truly involved in every step along the way and actively and immediately engaging in any services the court has mandated or DCF has recommended. If that’s not the case, they must be held accountable. I urge the Legislature to review current laws surrounding the child welfare system and work with DCF on recommendations on how we can continue to strengthen this process. The best interest of a child must be held with higher importance than the interest of anyone else. We can never stop fighting to keep children safe,” wrote Gov. Scott in a statement.