JACKSONVILLE - Investigators say a lack of parental supervision landed a 5-year-old child in the burn center in Chapel Hill.
Shanika Horne, 29, of Jacksonville, was charged Thursday by the Onslow County Sheriff's Office with misdemeanor child abuse, contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile, and resisting a public officer.
Horne is accused of allowing an 11-year-old to babysit her five children while she was at work on Aug. 15. According to warrants, Horne's children include a 7-month-old baby and an 18-month-old toddler.
Records state that this lack of supervision led to a water fight in Horne's Jacksonville home. Investigators believe the babysitter microwaved a cup of water, and one of the children threw the water on a 5-year-old girl's face.
The child was severely burned and transferred to the UNC Burn Center for treatment, according to documents.
Cheniqua Morton, a friend of Horne's, said she's an outstanding mother. "She provided a roof over their head," said Morton, "she got a vehicle for them, placed them in daycare, school, everything."
Morton is the mother of the 11-year-old babysitter.
Morton said Horne was in need of a sitter and asked if Morton's daughter was free. Morton said she sent her daughter to Horne's home because she wanted to help a friend. "We're both single moms, "said Morton. "The way the economy is now, it's really hard for us."
Morton, who believed her daughter was responsible, never expected that one of the children would be harmed. She explained what happened on August 15th.
"The kids were having a water fight," Morton said. "Allegedly my daughter put water in the microwave, warmed it up, and told my son to throw it on one of Horne's kids."
According to Morton, the children called her for help from a neighbor's home. Morton rushed to the home and took the injured 5-year-old girl to the hospital for treatment.
Morton said the child was in the burn Center in Chapel Hill for four days. She is healthy and back in school now, according to Morton.
Horne was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond, and her next court date is scheduled for Oct. 19.
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