Officials: 'Frustrated' Pontiac mother burned 1-year-old son with hot water

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

A Pontiac woman has been charged for burning her 1-year-old son with hot water, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.

Carmen Ann Smith-Portee, 25, who has been charged with intentionally burning her 1-year-old son with hot water May 19 at their home in Pontiac.

Carmen Ann Smith-Portee initially denied harming the child when deputies responded to their home about 12:05 p.m. May 19 in the 100 block of Apple Lane to find emergency personnel treating scalds and burns to his arm, back and forehead, investigators said in a statement.

The mother told them she ran hot water in a bathtub for the boy, left him in another room while gathering cleaning supplies then returned to find her son “burned and screaming as a result of climbing in,” the release read. 

After detectives interviewed her, Smith-Portee eventually “admitted to placing the child in the scalding hot water in the bathtub intentionally because she had become frustrated” with him, county officials wrote.

Her son was transported to St. Joseph’s Mercy Oakland then referred to the Detroit Children’s Hospital burn unit. He was listed in critical but stable condition, police said Friday.

The Oakland County Prosecutor’s Office issued a warrant for first-degree child abuse, which carries a penalty of life in prison. 

Smith-Portee was arraigned at 50th District Court in Pontiac. Judge Ronda Fowlkes Gross set bond at $100,000. 

The 25-year-old also had an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for third-degree retail fraud and a bench warrant stemming from traffic violations, county records show.

She remained held at the Oakland County Jail on the abuse and retail fraud charges Friday. Her next court hearing is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. June 7.

Meanwhile, Smith-Portee’s three other children have been placed with relatives, authorities said.