Baby Boy’s Burns ‘Heartbreaking For All of Us’

Baby Boy’s Burns ‘Heartbreaking For All of Us’


By Cristina Domingues

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The plight of a 7-month-old boy who was badly burned by scalding water has disheartened and outraged many people, and now the woman believed in charge of his care when it happened wants to set the record straight.

Eson Morris suffered burns to his back, buttocks, thighs and feet. The baby’s skin peeled off and he will forever bear the scars.

When we first spoke to Tonica Stephenson, the woman who was said to be babysitting Eson, she did not want to speak on camera. She’s since changed her mind, as her her husband Adrian and their daughter Keira spoke Tuesday.

“My heart goes out to the baby right now. I am his auntie and this is heartbreaking for all of us,” Tonica said. “I want people to know I was not home when this happened.”

Tonica is Eson’s great aunt, and had watched the baby several times before. She is a licensed daycare provider, but tells us she hasn’t currently been watching any children.

Tonica says her nephew dropped the baby off at her Riverbank Street home on Monday, but that she was not home. Her nephew left the baby with 12-year-old Keira, who babysat Eson before.

Keira says the baby was dirty after going to the bathroom and since there were no wipes, she went to clean him in the bath. She admits she did not test the temperature of the water.

“It was an accident. I wouldn’t do that on purpose to at all to anyone. That’s not the type of person I am. I wouldn’t hurt anyone,” Keira said.

“I wasn’t sure what to do, so I called the mom,” she said when asked why 911 wasn’t called right away.

Tonica was also called.  She says she came home, immediately called 911 and went with the baby by ambulance to the hospital. She says once there, Eson’s other family told her to leave and that’s when things started to blow up on social media.

Tonica says none of this would have happened if her nephew had waited for her to get home to watch the baby, and what her daughter did, was an accident.

Kadasia Smith, Eson’s aunt, told us prior that she does not believe this was an accident and she is pushing police to do more. Police tell us this is still an open investigation, and that investigation continues with the state too.

Tonica received a letter from the Office of Children and Family Services stating that her daycare license has been suspended and on track to be revoked. She says after all this, she doesn’t believe she may ever want to watch children again.