Marie Jeanne Horton a Richmond, Virginia woman is sentenced to 12 years jail after forcing her young son & daughter to place their feet in hot water as punishment.
Marie Jeanne Horton, 30, according to Fort Bend County court records had told investigators she had used the ‘hot water treatment’ several times as a way to discipline her seven year old adopted son and six-year old daughter.
According to arresting documents, Horton disciplined her adopted son because she believed the boy had lied about pulling the fire alarm at school the Houston Chronicle reported.
She then forced him to stand in hot water until he suffered second and third-degree burns on his feet which were so bad that his skin immediately came off after being released out of the tub.
But it gets worse.
Parents only seek medical attention for boy after CPS takes photos of abuse:
Horton conceded not seeking medical attention for the child’s injuries – with the child taken to hospital by his father after a visiting CPS worker took photos of the boy’d feet- with the father saying he hadn’t sought medical treatment for the boy cause trusted his former nurse wife.
Upon being taken to hospital the boy was later transferred to the Shriner’s Hospital’s Pediatric Burn Unit where he endured painful surgeries and skin graph treatments the following day.
Court documents revealed a Child Protective Service investigator going to Horton’s Waterview Estates home on Sept. 2, 2015, after school officials reported the child wasn’t in school and had reportedly been injured at home. The day before, the school principal told the boy he would inform his parents he had pulled the fire alarm at the school.
Of disconcert, investigators learned Horton and her husband threatening the two children and instructing them to lie to CPS investigators or police, saying they would be taken away from them if they told the truth.
Lead prosecutor: ‘There is a difference between punishing a child and abusing a child’.
Horton was sentenced at 240th District Court by presiding Judge Frank Frale on On June 4, 2019. She was just indicted by a grand jury following the September incident before eventually pleading guilty to felony charges of injury to a child.
Assistant District Attorney Jenna Rudoff told court officials that ‘without the school administrators and medical professionals involved in this case, this child’s injuries may have gone untreated. They worked hard to uncover the truth of what happened to this child and to keep him safe.’
The boy told detectives the mother filled the bath with water and held his hands down. The boy said his mother purposefully kept him in the tub by putting her foot against his legs.
Horton told him: ‘If you don’t stay in, I’ll make you sit in the tub.’ Then he said she asked, ‘Why did you pull the alarm’ and ‘please tell me why so you can get out.’
The boy’s father, Christopher Funderburg, 30, pled guilty to the offense of attempted tampering with a witness on August 23, 2018 and was sentenced to two years of community supervision.
The father’s punishment followed investigators saying Funderburg instructed the adoptive son to lie to law enforcement and medical professionals about the cause of his injuries.
‘There is a difference between punishing a child and abusing a child,’ lead prosecutor Claire Andresen said in a press release, the Houston Chronicle reported.
‘When discipline escalates to the point it causes injuries so severe to require surgery – that is abuse’ the prosecutor noted.
It is important for children to understand that it is never their fault when they are abused and that if they come forward, we will work to protect them,’ Andresen added.
Assistant District Attorney Jenna Rudoff additionally told court officials that ‘without the school administrators and medical professionals involved in this case, this child’s injuries may have gone untreated. They worked hard to uncover the truth of what happened to this child and to keep him safe.’