One of six people accused of horrifically abusing a toddler in New Jersey has now admitted to pouring boiling water over the child to punish him for urinating on the floor.
Patricia Buchan, 29, of Newark pleaded guilty to pouring boiling water over a 3-year-old boy she was supposed to be caring for last December, the Essex County Prosecutor’s office said in a Friday press release, obtained by Oxygen.com.
Buchan admitted that after the child urinated on the floor in her own son’s room, she made him take off his clothing, “get in the bathtub and then took a pot of boiling water from the stove and poured it on the boy’s lower body, resulting in second degree burns,” according to the press release.
She was watching the boy at the time.
Newark public preschool workers noticed the burns, along with some bruising on the boy’s body, and school officials alerted authorities, leading to the arrest of not just Buchan, but of five other adults.
The boy’s mother, Natacha Smith, 44, along with Patricia Gamarra, 63, Mary Buchan, 56, Bridget Buchan, 24, and Homer Searcy, 40 were arrested in December along with Patricia Buchan.
Searcy was dating Smith but he is not the child’s father. Mary Buchan and Patricia Gamarra are sisters, and Patricia Buchan and Bridget Buchan are Mary’s daughters. They all lived together. All were charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. Besides Buchan, they are all awaiting their day in court. It’s not clear if they have lawyers who can speak on their behalf at this time.
"They are accused of the systematic and coordinated beating of the child with a belt and fists and pouring scalding water on him as a form of corporal punishment,” the prosecutor's office said last year.
Four of Patricia Buchan’s biological children also lived in the home during the abuse. She was pregnant at the time of the abuse and now has a fifth child. It’s not clear if the mother will lose custody of her children as a result of the conviction. The burn victim was put in protective custody last year.
Buchan faces up to five years behind bars and will be sentenced on Dec. 6.
“This child lived his first three years in a house of horrors," Assistant Prosecutor Michael Morris said in the Friday press release. “Today’s plea resolves the case without the ordeal of the children having to testify.”
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