by: Dave Faherty Updated:
CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. - A woman was arrested at Catawba Valley Medical Center on Thursday night after giving birth to a baby boy earlier this week.
It is her 4-year-old daughter who is at the center of a police investigation, after family members said she received severe burns to 40 percent of her body.
It is difficult for Lee Shade to talk about what happened to her granddaughter at a home in Hickory last year.
The toddler's mother, Tausha Fuller, was charged with felony child abuse Thursday. According to an indictment, she intentionally assaulted her daughter, creating a risk of permanent disfigurement from severe burns.
Shade described the injuries she saw that prompted her to contact the Department of Social Services.
"She's got burns to 40 percent of her body from her neck down to her groin area. What kind of burns are there?They are water burns. We really don't know the full story,” Shade said.
Fuller's neighbors in southwest Hickory remember seeing the little girl out on the deck without adult supervision. They said they were worried about her safety, too.
"Any other time that's where she mostly stayed outside because the momma wouldn't let her come in,” neighbor Patsy Canipe said.
Police were releasing few details about the case but family members said the toddler was hospitalized for weeks and is still undergoing treatment.
Shade said the scars will be with her for the rest of her life. What worries her just as much are the injuries you can't see.
"We are there for her emotionally right now. We are hoping she will be able to heal from everything and be able to trust people again,” she said.
Channel 9 has not been able to find out who is caring for the infant boy. Fuller remains locked up in the county jail under a $75,000 bond.