2 charged after treating daughter's burns with Vaseline

Holly Fournier
The Detroit News

The parents of a 5-year-old Highland Park girl who was critically burned last week were arraigned Wednesday on child abuse charges after they allegedly treated her wounds with Vaseline and toilet paper.

Lenard Smith, 36, and Evette Latice Walker, 31, each were charged with second-degree child abuse, which carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

They were arraigned Wednesay afternoon before 30th District Court Judge Bridget Officer, who gave Smith a $150,000 bond and Walker a $100,000 bond. Both defendants are due back in court Dec. 20 and have been ordered to have no contact with children.

The couple's child allegedly was burned Friday while playing with a cigarette lighter alongside other children in her home on Puritan in Highland Park. Her wool shirt caught fire and adults on the premises put it out.

"It is alleged that Smith and Walker knew the child had been injured and failed to seek appropriate medical care, instead applying Vaseline and toilet paper to her wounds," officials said.

A family member called authorities around 7 p.m. Sunday, and the girl was transported to Children's Hospital for treatment to infections and third-degree burns to her chest, arms and back.

The girl's grandmother and an uncle also were arrested, police said at the time. No charges against them have been announced.

The girl and four siblings were removed from the home and Child Protective Services is investigating, according to officials.


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