A Missouri mother who allegedly killed her 1-month-old by placing the baby in a hot oven has been charged with felony child endangerment, authorities said.
Mariah Thomas, 26, allegedly said that she accidentally placed her infant daughter in the oven instead of her crib when she was putting her down for a nap Friday, according to court documents obtained by HuffPost.
Kansas City Police officers responded to Thomas’ home in Kansas City, where she lives with her parents, after receiving a 911 call at around 1:30 p.m., according to a probable cause affidavit. The baby had “apparent burn wounds” and was pronounced dead at the scene by firefighters.
“I thought I put [the baby] in her crib, and I accidentally put her in the oven,” Thomas’ father said she told him, according to the affidavit.
Thomas’ father told investigators that Thomas and the baby were awake and “appeared to be in good spirits” that morning, according to the affidavit. When the two left the house just before 8 a.m., Thomas’ mother said her daughter and granddaughter had gone back to sleep.
At about 1 p.m., however, Thomas’ mother said her daughter called her, yelling “hysterically” that she had put the baby in the oven instead of the crib. Her mother called Thomas’ husband to say that “something was wrong with the baby” and told him to go home immediately, according to the court documents.
When he arrived, investigators said he told them that he could smell smoke in the house and found the baby dead.
Investigators at the house said the baby had “apparent thermal injuries on various parts of her body.” The bodysuit she was wearing “appeared to have melted onto the diaper, and it was very dirty, possibly burned on the backside,” they said.
Investigators said they also found a baby blanket with “significant burn marks.”
Thomas declined an interview with detectives after she was arrested.
“We acknowledge the gruesome nature of this tragedy and our hearts are weighted by the loss of this precious life,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a statement Friday. “We trust the criminal justice system to respond appropriately to these awful circumstances.”
The Jackson County Medical Examiner has not responded to HuffPost’s questions about the baby’s cause of death. Baker alleged that Thomas “knowingly acted in a manner that created a substantial risk” to her baby’s life by placing her in the oven, resulting in her death.
Thomas is currently being held in the Jackson County Detention Center. Neither the prosecutor’s office nor the circuit court responded to HuffPost’s requests for additional information, and it is unclear whether Thomas has an attorney representing her.
If convicted, Thomas could face 10 to 30 years or life in prison, according to the court documents.