News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 31, 2013

Child burned when mother uses gasoline to treat head lice

By Rachel Petersen
CNHI News Service

McALESTER, Okla. — An Oklahoma mother has been charged with child abuse after she allegedly poured gasoline on her 5-year-old daughter's head in an effort to treat head lice, causing the girl and the mother to catch fire.

Court records show that 25-year-old Shana M. Suggs of Hartshorne, Okla., was charged last week week one count of felony child abuse by injury.

The girl had second- and third-degree burns over 60 percent of her body, court records state.

According to a police affidavit, when officers investigated, they found a working space heater in the bathroom near where Suggs allegedly poured the fluid on her daughter’s head. Suggs was treated for burns on her forearms, hands and foot, while the young girl was transferred to a burn hospital in Tulsa, the affidavit states.

Suggs’s boyfriend, Dylan Webster, told police he was watching television when he heard his girlfriend scream. He said he ran toward the bathroom and found both Suggs and her daughter on fire. He grabbed the young girl and rolled her on the ground, which didn’t extinguish the flames, so he "got a jacket off the couch and wrapped her up and the flames went out," the affidavit states.

If convicted, Suggs is facing up to life in prison.

Rachel Peterson is a reporter for The McAlester News-Capital in McAlester, Okla.