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Couple accused of child neglect for not treating toddler's burns

Detective says first- and second-degree burns did not appear to be accidental

April 09, 2010

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --A Martinsburg man and woman are accused of failing to take a 20-month-old girl to the hospital after she received burns to her face, according to Berkeley County Magistrate Court records.

Erica R. Stum and Bradley M. Silver, both 21, of 571 S. Kentucky Ave., each were arraigned Friday by Magistrate Harry L. Snow on one count of child neglect resulting in injury, according to court records.

The first- and second-degree burns the girl received the morning of March 31 did not appear to be accidental, Martinsburg Police Detective J.D. Luciano wrote in a complaint filed with the court.

Based on medical records obtained from City Hospital in Martinsburg, Luciano said the cause of the burns to each side of the girl's face and cheeks, and a mark under her chin, was unknown, according to court records.

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The girl has been placed in the custody of her grandmother through the Department of Health and Human Resources and a family protective order has been issued against both Stum and Silver on the child's behalf, according to court records.

The girl's grandmother contacted police April 1 after she arrived at the residence to get the child, according to court records.

The grandmother told police that Silver tried to physically stop her from taking the girl for medical treatment, jumping on the back of her car as she pulled away and damaging her rear windshield wiper, according to court records. The grandmother told police that her daughter and Silver told her they didn't want to take the girl to the hospital because they did not want to get in trouble for child abuse, according to court records.

In a statement to police, Silver said he was giving the girl a bath the morning of March 31 and left the girl for a minute to get a diaper downstairs when he heard her scream, according to court records.

"He advised he immediately ran back upstairs and found the baby lying on her side with running hot water hitting her face," according to court records.

Luciano noted in his complaint that the burns did not continue over the girl's nose or forehead or down her neck and rest of her body, according to court records.

Silver said he put a cold cloth on the girl's face and put ointment on it after contacting his mother about the situation, and also told police he didn't believe the girl needed medical attention because he thought she was fine, according to court records.

In her statement to police, the child's mother told police she was at school when her boyfriend called her about the girl being burned by running bath water, according to court records.

When asked why they did not take the girl to the hospital or contact EMS for help, Stum told police she did not have a medical card, had no transportation and did not want to pay an ambulance fee, according to court records.

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