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Girl placed in scalding hot water, burned, Cocoa police say

Mother arrested after child suffers burns to over 40 percent of body

COCOA, Fla. – A 20-year-old woman was arrested Thursday after she placed her crying 3-year-old daughter in scalding hot water, authorities said.

Local 6 News partner Florida Today reported Sanika Tykeria Murray, 20, was charged with aggravated child abuse after doctors and other medical experts treating the severely burned 3-year-old child determined the injuries were deliberately inflicted.

The incident happened Aug. 17. The girl was sent first to Wuesthoff Hospital for treatment, but then was rushed to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, in Orlando. Florida Today reports she was later flown to the Shriners Hospital for Children's Burn Center, in Ohio, for specialized treatment.

The incident caused burns to more than 40 percent of the 3-year-old girl's body, authorities said.

"We don't have a motive. (Murray's) story has changed a couple of times, but the reason why we have a delayed arrest is because we had to wait for the burn experts to determine that these were inflicted injuries and not something accidental," Barbara Matthews, spokeswoman with the Cocoa Police Department, told Florida Today.

The medical investigators at the Cincinnati hospital also determined the child had a secondary burn on her body that appears to have happened about the same time, Matthews said. The girl is recovering but also had a severe infection in one leg, according to the police report. The child's prognosis for recovery was not immediately known.

Detectives said they attempted to talk Thursday with Murray, but she would not cooperate or answer any questions. She was expected to be turned over to the Brevard County Jail Complex later Thursday.