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Baby hospitalized with severe burns; 12-year-old shares her side of story

Eson Morris is hospitalized with third degree burns. (Provided photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - A seven month old baby has been hospitalized with severe burns after being left in the care of a 12-year-old girl who tried to give him a bath.

"It was an accident," Kiera Mitchell told 13 WHAM's Jane Flasch.

The admission raises questions about who should have been caring for the baby and what role a daycare at the home did or did not play.

The license for Tiny Hearts Daycare has been suspended by New York State. The provider is also the baby's paternal great aunt, Tonica Stephenson. She says he was dropped off without her knowledge while only her 12-year-old daughter was home. She says she came home to find her daughter in hysterics and the baby injured.

"When I removed his pants, that's when I saw the most horrible thing in the world," she said. "I called 911 right away. I didn't hesitate. I was frantic."

Doctors are using skin grafts to heal the second and third degree burns on Eson Morris. His injuries are horrifying, and his family says they will require another two weeks in the hospital.

"My heart breaks for him. I'm very sorry this happened," said Stephenson.

She said she agreed over the phone to watch her great-nephew, but wasn't given a time frame. She says the baby was dropped off by his father while she was out running errands.

"He brought the baby to my daughter without my knowledge. He dropped the baby off to my daughter and left," said Stephenson.

Eson's maternal Aunt Kadasia Smith tells a different story. She was with his mom the day this happened.

"I heard her [Tonica] say, "yeah bring him." My sister said, "do you want me to bring him now?" She said, "yeah, bring him, I'm home." I heard that with my own ears," said Smith. "All the stories are changing up, one minute she ran to the store, one minute her daughter ran out of wipes and she put a hot cloth to wipe him up , one she put him in the tub. It's just all changing."

Kiera Mitchell says, after feeding the baby, she changed his diaper but had no baby wipes to clean him up.

"I got the little baby tub, and I put it inside of the regular tub and I catched {sic} the water in it not knowing that it was hot," she said.

Kiera says she then wrapped her little cousin in a blanket, and that's when she panicked and called the baby's mother, running to a neighbor's house to use the phone.

"When I saw the amount of skin peeled off, I said this doesn't really look normal," she said.

Stephenson said she later received a frantic call from the baby's mother via cell.

"I'm not even home. I don't even know if the baby was there or not, but I went home immediately to see what's going on," she recalled.

Smith says her and Eson's mom panicked as they sped to see what was happening.

"For this to happen there was just no excuse, it was not an accident, it was not it an accident literally," said Smith. "It was supposed to be Tonica [watching him] but now there's no telling what was going on and that's the scary part."

Kiera wants people to know she never meant for it to happen.

"I'm not a bad person. My mom's not a bad person," she said, wiping away tears.

"She would never hurt him. She would never do that," adds Stephenson.

Stephenson says this is a family issue and not connected to the daycare.

New York's Office of Children and Family Services won't address specific questions about their investigation.

Rochester police are investigating as well.

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