A Texas mother has been accused of putting her toddler in an oven, landing the child in a Fort Worth hospital with second- and third-degree burns.
Witnesses told investigators that Tasha Hatcher, 35, admitted to placing her daughter in the oven, according to a statement from the Somervell County Sheriff’s Department.
Hatcher has been charged with injury to a child with serious bodily injury, a first degree felony, the statement said.
She was arraigned Saturday and her bond was set at $300,000.
Authorities have released few details about the alleged crime. The incident occurred on Thursday at Hatcher’s residence in Glen Rose, Tex., which is located about 75 miles southwest of Dallas, the statement said.
The 2-year-old victim was rushed to a hospital and later flown to Parkland Burn Center in Dallas.
“This case is still under investigation by the Somervell County Sheriff’s Office, The Texas Rangers and Child Protective Service,” the statement added.
Fox Affiliate KDFW reported that shocked family and friends described Hatcher as attentive and loving.
“I really would have never, never expected this out of her,” a friend, who asked the station to conceal her face and name, said on camera. “I wasn’t even sure when I heard it that it was true.”
“It’s unimaginable,” she added.
But a local newspaper interviewed other local residents who described Hatcher as having a more troubled history.
“A former co-worker of Hatcher’s said that, as of 6 p.m. Saturday, the child was being sedated, but is believed to be in stable condition.
According to Hatcher’s Facebook, the single mother currently works at Quality Inn and Suites and StoneWater Church in Glen Rose.
Several Somervell County residents have also confirmed that Hatcher has a history of drug abuse and that her son, approximately seven years of age, was previously removed from her custody by Child Protective Services.”
Neighbors told NBC affiliate WFAA-TV that Hatcher is typically playful, but she began exhibiting unusual behavior Thursday evening.
Hatcher’s next door neighbor, Arturo Villa, told the station that while mowing his lawn Thursday evening he noticed her playing loud music and behaving erratically, making odd gestures and signs.
“They always seemed playful together,” he told WFAA-TV. “It was unusual.”
“I’m a parent of four … and you can’t even imagine what would go through someone’s mind to even want to do that,” Villa added.
A spokeswoman from Child Protective Services told the station that the child will be placed in its custody and then in foster care once she’s healthy enough to leave the hospital.