Oklahoma Foster Mother Charged After Child Suffers Severe Burns
WARR ACRES, Oklahoma - A foster mother is charged with multiple counts of child neglect, months after a little girl is hospitalized with 3rd and 4th degree burns.
It happened in Warr Acres while Dusty Hughes and five other children were left in the care of a 15-year-old boy.
Dusty's parents say Thursday's charges are an answered prayer. They say because of one person's gross neglect, their daughter will spend a lifetime recovering from her injuries.
After a months of around the clock care, multiple surgeries, and encouragement from her family, 3-year-old Dusty Dawn is now strong enough to move.
But according to court documents, Dusty has a long road ahead. Her burns are so severe, surgeons have told investigators her cartilage was cooking.
Dusty's parents blame her foster mother Justine Kersey. They say one way or another, she'll pay.
"See you later, you're going to jail," said Dusty's mother.
"I'll leave it in God's hands," said Dusty's father.
The night of the incident police say Kersey made plans to visit a friend that was hospitalized more than an hour and a half away in Ada. But while in route with her boyfriend, the couple changed their mind, detouring to a casino before deciding to stay the night with a friend.
"Tell that to Dusty Dawn. That's why she's up there. I guess dinner and casinos is more important than watching my baby," said Dusty's parents.
While Kersey was enjoying a night out, her 15-year-old nephew was at home caring for her six foster children. Five of which are special needs. The youngest child only 11-months-old.
While in his care, Dusty fell into a bathtub of scolding hot water. When questioned, investigators said the teen was visibly shaken and upset. Telling investigators she slipped into a tub while he was win another room.
Although the teen was initially charged, they were later dropped. Investigators citing they believed it was a tragic accident.
Surgeons say dusty will undergo years of intensive reconstructive surgery. Dusty and her three siblings have been in foster care for over a year. Her parents told News 9 they were unable to provide shelter.