A New Jersey mother of four confessed to pouring boiling water on a 3-year-old boy living in a “house of horrors,” prosecutors said on Friday.
Patricia Buchan, 29, admitted to instructing the toddler last year to take his clothes off at a Newark home before she dumped a pot of scalding water on him, NJ.com reported.
Buchan allegedly wanted to punish the child for peeing on the floor of a squalid apartment during the Dec. 4, 2018, incident.
Prosecutors said the boy — who was not related to Buchan — suffered second-degree burns.
“This child lived his first three years in a house of horrors,” Essex County Assistant Prosecutor Michael Morris said in a statement. “Today’s plea resolves the case without the ordeal of the children having to testify.”
Buchan and five other adults living in the apartment were charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. They were identified as the boy’s mother, Natacha Smith, 44; Patricia Gamarra, 63; Mary Buchan, 56; Bridget Buchan, 24; and Homer Searcy, 40.
Buchan — who has four children of her own — is set to be sentenced on Dec. 6, while the other cases are pending, according to NJ.com.
She faces up to five years in prison.