HESPERIA • A 22-year-old mother allowed her infant son to suffer for nearly two days with chemical burns on his body before she sought medical treatment because she was reportedly under the influence, had a warrant out for her arrest and was afraid her son would be taken from her, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Hesperia station officials said Tuesday.
Ashley Ann Donat of Hesperia eventually brought her 15-month-old son to Desert Valley Hospital on Monday afternoon. After checking the child, hospital staff contacted Hesperia deputies, according to Susan Rose, spokeswoman for the Hesperia station.
Deputy Jeff Farrar interviewed Donat and learned the child had spilled a caustic household chemical on himself while under the care of his paternal grandfather, John Thomas Channell, 54, who lives in Apple Valley. Authorities are still trying to determine exactly what the child spilled on himself, Rose stated, though Donat's sister, Melissa Donat, said it was acetone nail polish remover.
"They did inform the mother of what happened," Rose said of the relatives. According to the investigation, the child seemed to be fine at first, but as time went on his burns became evident.
Melissa Donat said as soon as her sister realized the child — who was reportedly diagnosed with eczema — was suffering more than just an allergic reaction, the mother took the child to the emergency room.
"It didn't look that bad when we saw it," Melissa Donat said. "At first it kind of looked like a rash and then it got worse over time."
The sibling also stated Ashley Donat was not under the influence as was reported by sheriff's officials and denies that was the reason why the 22-year-old mother failed to seek medical attention for her son.
The child suffered first- and second-degree burns to his face, upper body and legs, according to a release.
Those who receive first-degree burns usually have swelling, their skin is usually red and there is some pain. Second-degree burns usually involve the blistering of the skin and severe pain and swelling, according to officials.
Donat was arrested for willful cruelty to a child. She was also booked for her outstanding driving under the influence warrant, with court records showing past arrests for DUI and transportation of a controlled substance.
Channell was also arrested Tuesday morning for willful cruelty to a child.
The child was placed into the custody of Child Protective Services.
Beatriz E. Valenzuela may be reached at (760) 951-6276 or at BValenzuela@VVDailyPress.com.