WOODLAND, Wash. (KOIN) — The stepmother of a 3-year-old was arrested for allegedly burning the boy’s hand under a hot iron and pushing him down a flight of stairs.
The boy was taken Wednesday to a Vancouver hospital where the staff suspected the burns and head trauma were child abuse and called police.
The probable cause documents said Teresa Hernandez, 23, told police she was ironing on the dining room table when the boy, Alex, stood next to her with his hand on the table. She said she took the iron and pressed it on his hand for about 5 seconds. He tried to pull his hand away, but she was pressing down too hard, the document said.
She said the iron was hot enough to release steam.
The boy’s brain injury happened Tuesday, she said in the document. As she was bringing laundry downstairs, she said Alex was in front of her and she used the basket to push him down. He fell about 12 stairs and hit his head on a tile floor.
Hernandez said she didn’t mean for either injury to happen, the document shows.
The boy’s father noticed he was walking unsteadily and took him to the hospital.
Alex has third-degree burns on the back of his left hand and internal bleeding in his brain.
Woodland Police Detective Dave Plaza, who said he got Hernandez to confess, told KOIN 6 News it’s not surprising to him the boy’s picture was omitted from a family photo album found online.
“In my experience, it’s common these types of people are dehumanizing the child,” he said. “It makes it easier to abuse the kid that way, and by leaving them, erasing their existence from family photos.”
CPS said all the children have now been taken from the home.
Hernandez faces two felony counts of child abuse.