A Tyler man was arrested on Monday after his 4-year-old stepson suffered third-degree burns in a bathtub.
Joshua Tranair Meekings, 26, has been charged with injury to a child, a felony in the first degree. He is currently in jail on a $1 million bond.
According to an arrest affidavit, on Friday, May 27, a detective with the Smith County Sheriff’s office was notified of a CPS report concerning an injury to a child. The child’s injuries were so severe that he was flown to Parkland Hospital in Dallas the day before after being stabilized in Tyler for burn injuries.
The child’s stepfather, Meekings, reportedly told medical staff at Parkland that the child had bumped into a stove and knocked over a boiling pot of water, according to the affidavit. However, the CPS case worker claimed that the burn injuries were not consistent with Meekings’ story and that the burns were more likely from the child being dipped in boiling water.
The affidavit states that the detective contacted the mother of the child, who said that she received a call from Joshua at around 5 p.m. on May 26 concerning her son and that 11 minutes later, the two arrived at their home, the child wrapped in a brown towel. Once she saw her son’s injuries, she had Joshua call 911, which she said he did.
The mother stated that Meekings claimed that the babysitter had called him because the child had soiled himself at her house and that Meekings had to go clean the child up there, according to the arrest affidavit. He allegedly further told the mother that upon his arrival at the sitter’s house, he undressed the child, put him in the bathtub and turned the water on before going to play video games with his friend who was also there, leaving the child alone in the bathroom.
According to the affidavit, the detective contacted Meekings the same day for his side of the story. He claimed that he placed the child in the bathtub and left him there for three to five minutes while he played video games, the document shows.
Finally, the detective spoke with a doctor at Parkland hospital, who stated that the child had suffered burns on up to 36% of his body, mainly including his buttocks, back of thighs, complete lower legs and feet as well as his right arm, according to the affidavit. The doctor further stated that the majority of the burns are third degree and that the child will require multiple surgeries.
Crime scene investigators then conducted a temperature test of the faucet water at the sitter’s house, finding that the water ran upwards of 145 degrees Fahrenheit and, once pooled, lowered to 140 degrees.
Despite Meekings’ claim that he left the child in the bathtub, the affidavit states that it is believed that he held the child down in the bathtub, causing the severe burn injuries.