Crime

June 27, 2014

Gaston Co. police: Toddler burned while caregiver listens to loud music

Cassandra Kristen Ann Willard, 23, of Gastonia, was charged with child abuse-willful act or omission causing serious bodily injury.

Gaston County police say a woman who was caring for several children has been arrested after a toddler was seriously burned by hot water in a bathtub.

The caregiver didn’t hear the child’s cries because she was wearing headphones and listening to loud music, police said.

Cassandra Kristen Ann Willard, 23, of Gastonia, turned herself in to police this week after being charged with child abuse-willful act or omission causing serious bodily injury.

Police said the incident took place June 8 at a home near Dallas. Investigators said a 15-month-old girl got into a tub with hot water running and could not get out. The child was in the tub for up to 30 minutes, police said.

The burned child was not rescued until her father returned home. The child suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns on much of her body and was airlifted to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. The girl is recovering, police said.

Willard was not related to the victim and was baby-sitting several other small children at the time. No other childwas injured.

Willard was jailed under $150,000 bond. Police said she has been cooperating with them during the investigation.

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