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Mother charged after 2-year-old dies from burn injuries

Posted at 4:28 PM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 23:16:04-04

A Milwaukee woman was charged in the death of her 2-year-old daughter, after she told police the child was burned in hot bath water, a criminal complaint says. 

According to that complaint, Lisa Simmons, 41, called 911 on Sunday to report that her daughter wasn't breathing and was blue in color. 

First responders arrived at the home near 73rd and Carmen Avenue within five minutes, but noted that the child was already dead and rigor was setting in. 

Simmons initially told police that she and her three children went to bed at 3:00 a.m. that day and she woke up four hours later to check on them. The children include the 2-year-old girl and infant twins. 

Simmons told police she fed the twins a bottle and gave her 2-year-old a bottle of Pedialyte. Then everyone went back to sleep. 

At 1:30 p.m. the same day, Simmons told police she went to check on her daughter and found her unresponsive. 

According to the complaint, Simmons told police her 2-year-old was diagnosed recently with hand, foot and mouth disease and that was causing the child to have a fever. She later told them the child had a burn on her buttocks from chemicals likely coming in contact with the child's diaper. 

Simmons said she first noticed the burns on Sept. 21, two days before the child died, but was afraid to go to the hospital because she has an open case with Child Protective Services.

A caseworker visited the home just four days before the child died, according to the criminal complaint. 

Detectives found a bedspread with blood on it inside the home, as well as a soiled diaper with blood. 

When they examined the child's body, they found burns on more than just her buttocks. She also had burn injuries on her lower back and upper back thighs. 

When confronted with this information, Simmons told police that her daughter was burned while in the bathtub on Sept. 20, one day after the caseworker visited the home. 

Eventually, Simmons told police that she filled the bathtub up to her daughter's chest level and dipped her into the water. Simmons said she held her daughter in the water for about a minute until the hot water splashed onto Simmons and she realized how hot it was. 

She tried to treat her daughter's injuries at home, but told police her daughter stopped eating and had a fever and diarrhea. She again said she didn't take her daughter to the hospital because she feared her children would be taken away. 

An autopsy found that the 2-year-old girl died from complications of thermal burn injuries and that she would have been held in the water for multiple minutes to sustain the injuries or a different substance or mechanism was used to inflict the burns. 

Simmons has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide and neglecting a child.