LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas man has been charged with burning his 2-year-old daughter with hot liquid. Officials say the little girl suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to her lower body. Derrick Demontre Norman, 26, has been charged with injury to a child, a 1st degree felony. The child's neighbor says the toddler was burned last week and could be heard crying for days.
"She's just a typical little 2-year-old," said Wyndi Green, who manages the apartment complex where little Mercedes Norman and her mom live. "She's just as cute as she can be."
Mercedes remains in a Dallas hospital, suffering from major burns on her legs. Her father, Derrick Norman, was arraigned Tuesday at the Gregg County Court House.
"The parents initially gave conflicting info about how the burns occurred," explained Kevin Brownlee, with the Longview Police Department. "As investigators proceeded through their investigation they were able to determine the child was burned through submersion in hot liquids."
Green says Derrick Norman is not listed on the lease.
"She had informed me that she was getting out of an abusive relationship and trying to start her life over," said Green.
She says Mercedes' mom came to her last week and told her the 2-year-old was burned in the bathtub.
"I said, 'Well how?' and she said, 'You know how the water, it takes it a while for it to get hot then once it does it gets real hot?' she said, 'Well, my baby sitter accidentally burned my baby in the bathtub,'" said Green. "She said, 'Her legs and her feet, she can't really walk right now.'"
Neighbors like Pearlie Jackson say they occasionally heard commotion from the apartment where Mercedes lives.
"It was like fighting and all that kind of stuff," said Jackson. "I just couldn't believe it. An innocent child! The baby is innocent!"
The situation leaves a community in disbelief as this little girl's father remains behind bars.
Derrick Norman remains in the Gregg County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
Family members of Mercedes say that she is in stable condition at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.