Austin mother, boyfriend charged after 6-year-old dies due to severe burns from boiling water

Crime

AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin mother and her boyfriend were charged after the mom’s 6-year-old boy died from severe burns caused by boiling water.

According to a release from U.S. Marshals, both the mother, Staleigh Coleman, 27, and the boyfriend, Blake Jones, 27, were arrested in Pflugerville and Austin respectively on March 10.

Coleman and Jones were taken to the Travis County Jail. Their bonds were set at $100,000 each.

Originally, Coleman and Jones were charged with injury to a child by omission. However, an Aug. 3 autopsy report from the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the 6-year-old’s death as a homicide, the Austin Police Department reported in an Aug. 18 update. The report has been sent to the Travis County District Attorney’s Office for review.

In that update, APD also identified the 6-year-old victim as Stavian Driver.

Both Coleman and Jones are out of jail on bond, pending grand jury indictment, according to APD. The homicide ruling will also be presented to the grand jury for consideration of those charges.

Arrest warrants for Coleman and Jones were obtained after a caller reported that an unresponsive boy with burns from boiling water was brought to First Choice Emergency Room Center on Riverside Drive on Sunday.

“The caller reported that they were getting mixed information as to why the child, a six-year-old male, became unresponsive,” the warrants stated.

The boy was taken to the emergency room at Dell Children’s Medical Center after CPR efforts, where he died, the warrants said. The Travis County Medical Examiner ruled scald injuries to be the cause of death.

Jones recounted he heard the boy scream when the boiling water fell on him from the stove and helped him into a bathtub with cold running water, the warrants said. However, Jones said he left the boy in the bathtub for about 15 minutes and came back to find he was not breathing.

When asked why he didn’t call 911, Jones said “he just didn’t think 911 would’ve gotten there in time,” according to the warrants.

However, the warrants stated Coleman’s account of what happened was different, saying she “could not provide the details that took place once the victim was in the bathroom.” Additionally, she denied the child was placed in the tub with cold running water.

The warrants said a search was done at their apartment and items found in the kitchen were moved around in a way that was inconsistent with Coleman and Jones’ stories. Additional pots were on the stove and burners were overturned.

Although burns covered half of the boy’s body, according to U.S. Marshals, “abrasions, scrapes, and contusions” were also found during the autopsy, according to the warrants.

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