Mom accused of burning six-year-old's hand on wood stove
Thorndike — Police say a Thorndike woman deliberately burned her six-year-old child's hand on a wood stove after the boy's younger sibling had done so accidentally.
Michele Dunworth, 30, of Thorndike, was arrested on charges of domestic violence assault and endangering the welfare of a child Tuesday night, Jan. 21. The arrest followed an investigation that Waldo County Chief Deputy Jeff Trafton said was prompted when an elementary school teacher noticed the child wearing a bandage on his hand when he came to school.
Trafton said when the child's teacher asked him what happened to his hand, he stated that his mother had burned it on the wood stove at their home. The School Resource Officer in Regional School Unit 3, Nicholas Oettinger, investigated the case after learning of what the boy told his teacher, Trafton said.
When Oettinger observed the boy's injury, Trafton said the officer described the burn as "several inches long" and it appeared to have been a second- or third-degree burn that was in the process of healing.
As the investigation proceeded, Trafton said police learned that the boy's younger sibling had accidentally burned their hand on the stove and when Dunworth came into the room, she pressed the six-year-old's hand against the stove surface as well.
"She held his hand onto the wood stove so he would know what it felt like," Trafton said.
After completing the investigation, Trafton said Oettinger obtained an arrest warrant for Dunworth and the matter was referred to the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.