WARNING: The following story contains graphic content not suitable for all readers
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The parents of a 2-year-old girl who suffered severe burns from spilled coffee are now facing felony charges for being slow to get her care, according to newly released Allen Superior Court documents.
Allen County Prosecutors have formally charged 27-year-old Rachel Naomi Meade and 34-year-old Michael Morelle Meade each with a Level 6 felony count of neglect of a dependent.
On May 7, their daughter suffered first-, second-, and third-degree burns over a third of her body when she reached up to a pull a brewing cup of coffee from a single-serve coffee machine while Rachel Meade’s back was turned at the family’s trailer home, according to court documents.
Rachel Meade later told investigators she heard her daughter scream and turned to see a broken mug on the floor and the child covered in coffee. The coffee machine had been close to the edge of the counter to clear cabinets, she told investigators in court documents, and was still spewing hot coffee at the time.
Once she saw her granddaughter had been burned, Rachel Meade’s mother, who was there at the time, told Meade to take the child’s clothes off and get her into a lukewarm bath, court documents said. Rachel Meade told investigators she did not call 911 or make any attempts to get the girl to a hospital.
Instead, Michael Meade left the home with the child later that evening to take her a local emergency room, she said in court documents. He came back claiming the emergency room turned him and the child away due to his daughter’s age and COVID restrictions, Rachel Meade said in court documents.
In an interview with detectives, Michael Meade claimed he took the girl to Parkview Regional Medical Center but that he was turned away by a “float nurse” because the hospital was not treating children under the age of two due to COVID, according to court documents.
He also stated the nurse told him the hospital does not treat burn victims, that he didn’t know where else to go and went home.
That night, the Michael Meade tried to treat the burns with alcohol, burn cream and aloe before wrapping the girl in Band-Aids and bandages, court documents said. Afterward, neither parent spoke about the child’s injuries, Rachel Meade said in court documents.
When a detective said he would be reviewing surveillance footage at Parkview to see if Meade walked up to the doors, Meade changed his story, according to to court documents. He admitted he did not take the girl to a hospital and that he only treated her wounds at home, court documents said.
On May 10, the Meades got the girl to a doctor.
The doctor who treated the girl later told detectives in court documents if she had not been seen by a medical professional infection and sepsis likely would have set in and the girl could have died. She also told detectives timely treatment of the burns was critical.
After the girl was seen by the doctor, a caseworker with the Department of Child Services along with Fort Wayne Police officers were called to the Meades’ trailer. They removed the girl and her 6-year-old sibling from the Meades’ care.
There, they conducted an initial interview with Rachel Meade. Michael Meade was taken to a local hospital with a medical condition, court documents said.
Warrants for their arrests have been issued, but it is unclear whether they’ve been booked into Allen County Jail.