The Dundalk, Maryland, parents of a one-month-old baby boy who died this summer after being left unattended while in a tub of hot water were both charged this week in connection with the infant’s death. Eugene Joseph Buchta, 25, of the 2800 block of Harford Road and Rachael Anne Johnson, 25, of the 200 block of Patapsco Avenue were indicted by a grand jury on first-degree child abuse and related charges, according to a September 30 report by The Baltimore Sun. Police in Baltimore County announced the charges yesterday.
First responders with Baltimore County Police and Fire arrived at the scene around 7 p.m. on July 3 after receiving a call about an unresponsive infant, according to a release from the Baltimore County Police Department. The baby boy was transported to Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center but was pronounced dead shortly after his arrival.
Police say that that the father was giving the baby a bath the night before in a small tub of water. Buchta said he stepped out of the room where he was bathing his son; but when he returned he saw that the baby has slipped beneath the water and was submerged. When Buchta removed his son from the tub, he told police that he noticed that the bath water was very hot.
Police reported that “instead of taking the infant to a hospital, Buchta and Johnson decided to put ointment on the infant,” according to the release. The baby became unresponsive the next day which is when the parents finally dialed 911.
WBAL-TV in Baltimore reported that an autopsy performed on the infant’s remains ruled cause of death to be due to a “complication from thermal injuries.” Although the medical examiner ruled the baby’s death a homicide, WBAL reported police as saying that there was no indication that the parents meant to murder their baby boy. For more on this tragic story, see the video accompanying this article.