Crime & Courts

Mother speaks out after toddler severely burned by babysitter

DALLAS -- It has been seven months since a Gaston County child was left in a scalding hot bath by her babysitter. Twenty-two-month old Isabelle Niggel suffered second and third degree burns over forty percent of her tiny body.

Since then, Isabelle's mother, Carrie, says her daughter has faced more pain than many people do in an entire lifetime.

"When I went in, I really almost hit the floor. She was just laying there. She wasn't moving, she wasn't crying. Her legs were red, her skin was peeling off and I didn't know what to think," Carrie said.

It only got worse for Carrie after learning this happened at the hands of someone she called her friend.

"Nobody's kids are safe with anybody that they think they know," Carrie said.

Twenty-five-year old Cassandra Willard was watching Isabelle and her siblings, when somehow the little girl ended up in a scalding hot bath for 30 minutes. Gaston County Police say Willard was wearing headphones.

"I think it was more or less being careless and not really paying attention," Carrie said.

Because of that carelessness, Carrie says her daughter was left fighting for her life through five surgeries, spending 56 days in Wake Forest Baptist Medical's Burn Unit. She even endured experimental treatments.

"She was on a ventilator for a week, she had lots of feeding tubes. I'm hoping Isabelle won't remember, but she's still going to have some scars and have some surgeries," Carrie said.

Just yesterday, a Gaston County judge sentenced to nine months in jail, while giving her credit for the six months she's already served. Willard will only serve a few more months, and that's a punishment Carrie doesn't believe fits her daughter's pain.

"I thought I could let the courts get to it, but that basically went down the drain," Carrie said.

Despite that disappointment, the Niggel family is extra thankful this Christmas, for the little feet, dancing around the tree.

"If it wasn't for God and all the prayers, I don't know where we would be at," Niggel said.

Isabelle faces more surgeries in the future. Including one to repair the severe damage that hot water did to her feet.