Court documents: Teen mother holds baby in scalding water 'to see how he responded to it'

PHOENIX, Arizona (KTVK) -- An Ahwatukee Arizona mother is facing felony child abuse charges after allegedly putting her baby in a sink and turning on the hot water to see how he would react.

Staff at Maricopa County Hospital called police Monday to report that they were treating a five-month-old boy who had second- and third-degree burns.

Police say the observed severe burns on his groin and upper leg area.

Sarah Nguyen first said the burns happened when she was giving her baby son a bath in the bathroom sink, and turned away for just 30 seconds. She claimed when she turned back around, she realized the water was too hot and she removed the baby from the sink.

But as police interviewed her, the story changed.

According to court paperwork, the 18-year-old mother admitted "getting angry and frustrated" with the baby. She also told officers that at one point, she slapped his face and threw him down on the bed.

According to the probable cause statement, Nguyen placed the baby in the sink and turned on the hot water "to see how responded to it." Court paperwork states that Nguyen left the baby in the water while she went to get a diaper.

She says she turned on the cold water when she saw her son's skin turned red, but the damage had been done. Court paperwork states that blisters had formed where the water touched the child. Nguyen told police she initially tried to treat the blisters with lotion, but eventually decided to take the baby to the hospital.

"The defendant knew what she did was wrong," the arresting officer wrote in his probable cause statement.

Commissioner Maria Brandon set bond at $50,000 for Nguyen. If posted, Nguyen will be subject to house arrest and electronic monitoring.

Nguyen is due back in court for a status conference on Dec. 8 and then a preliminary hearing on Dec. 11.

She also has another child who is 16 months old. That child is now in custody of Child Protective Services.