11-month-old burned to death in scalding water, mother arrested

Mother Arrested After 11-Month-Old Burned to Death in Scalding Water

LAKELAND, Fla. — A Florida woman was arrested Tuesday in the death of her 11-month-old baby, who was scalded so badly in hot water that she died two weeks later from her injuries.

The events in the case unfolded Nov. 6, 2018, when Pamela Black, 21, told police she gave her baby, Serenity Gunter, a bath in the kitchen sink. Black said she put the baby in the sink with toys and turned to clean a countertop, then heard a scream and saw the hot water running, according to the Tampa Times.

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Black's husband, Taylor Smith, was outside playing with his 2-year-old son when he heard screams coming from the kitchen, the Times reported. He told police he rushed inside and saw Black with the baby at the sink. He said he yelled for a roommate and they tried to soothe the injured girl with baby powder and aloe.

When the burns began to blister and peel an hour and a half later, they took the child to Lakeland Regional Health, which then transferred the burned baby to Tampa General Hospital.

Medical staff at both hospitals did not believe Black’s story about how her daughter was injured.

The baby suffered third-degree burns over 50% of her body and Dr. Jasmine Patterson, who treated the child, said if Black’s story was true the baby would have had splash marks.

The Polk County Medical Examiner determined the baby's injuries came from an immersion burn, the newspaper reported.

Serenity Gunter died two weeks after she was admitted to the hospital.

Black was jailed Tuesday without bail on aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter charges.