HOMESTEAD, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida mother accused in the death of her 1-year-old son, after he was badly burned with scalding bathwater, has bonded out of jail. Meanwhile, a community came together to mourn the tragic loss.
A growing memorial sits on the corner of Southwest 138th Court and 266th Street, in Southwest Miami-Dade, in remembrance of Ethan Coley, who died Thursday morning.
7News cameras captured mourners outside of the home paying their respects, Saturday, just after 6 p.m.
The child’s mother, 35-year-old Christina Hurt, attended the memorial. She wept while mourners prayed and paid tribute to the 1-year-old.
“I want to thank you, thank you, thank you, and amen,” said one participant.
“I was ready to watch him grow,” said family friend Iesha Young, “and now I can’t do that no more.”
Hurt bonded out of jail Saturday morning. The Homestead resident was charged with aggravated manslaughter for her alleged role in the toddler’s death.
“Every day he woke up happy. He always had a smile on his face,” said Young.
Ethan’s godmother, Dixie Rogers, told 7News he suffered for hours. “The baby died in my arms, right here,” she said as she fought back tears.
The boy was found dead at his godmother’s home after, detectives said, the boy was badly burned at his home in Homestead the night before.
“He was gasping for air,” said Rogers. “I begged [Christina] the night before to take that baby to the hospital. She wouldn’t take him.”
According to police reports, Hurt said two of her other children were trying to bathe Ethan on Wednesday when her 4-year-old son made the water extremely hot, causing the burns. The report states she gave the toddler Tylenol and juice, and then she went to sleep.
“Then she’s going to bring him into my house the next day, and he dies in my arms,” said Rogers.
Hours later, his mother was taken into custody. Prosecutors said this tragedy was eerily similar to an arrest in 2014 when Hurt’s daughter suffered a skull fracture but was not taken to the hospital.
“The defendant dropped her 3-year-old daughter off at the daycare, and the child has a large gash on her head,” said one prosecutor. “The child said that her mother had pushed her off the bed, and she hit her head.”
Hurt was then placed on probation.
People close to her said her children were returned to her recently.
The children’s father appeared in juvenile court on Friday, but he won’t be getting custody of their five kids.
“I will place them in the custody of the Department of Children and Families,” said Miami-Dade District Court Judge Jason Emilios Dimitris.
Officials said the children will receive counseling.
Mourners at Saturday’s memorial released white balloons into the sky. “We love you, Ethan,” they said in unison.
As far as the allegations against his mother, friends said they are not true. “Leave it alone, let it go,” said Young. “Only time will tell.”
Hurt is currently awaiting her next court appearance.
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