SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Police arrested a Schenectady man accused of burning a little boy by forcing the child into a scalding hot bath.
But could he also be responsible for severely burning another child more than 10 years ago? A local mom thinks the two incidents are not a coincidence.
“I blamed myself for years,” Maria Guzman said. “I always look at my son and wonder what life would be like if that didn’t happen.”
It’s been more than 10 years, but the scars – emotional and physical – are a constant reminder of the day Guzman received a call at work telling her to get home. The caller said her son, Jamari, had been burned while in the care of her then-boyfriend Allan Decuir.
“So when I asked him what happened and why Jamari didn’t have any clothes on, he told me Jamari was eating breakfast and he made a mess and had to put him in the tub,” Guzman said. “My son just started to inflate. His body started inflating. His skin started to flare up, and that’s when the burns started to appear.”
Jamari was taken to Westchester Medical Center’s burn unit where he spent that Christmas on a ventilator fighting to survive.
“The police never really investigated,” Guzman said. “It was given to CPS. CPS basically came at me. I was at work. How can you be upset with me? I was at work.”
Guzman, who was pregnant, went into early labor and delivered her second son in the same hospital.
“All these years later I have to live with the fact that I left my child with somebody that I’m not sure of now,” she said.
Decuir was recently arrested on assault charges. He’s accused of scalding a 5-year-old boy in a bathtub while he was visiting an apartment in Schenectady.
“That’s not a coincidence,” Guzman said. “That’s not his bad luck. It’s not just something that happened. ‘Oh, my God. This happened to me twice.’”
Guzman said she is asking Schenectady police to look into her son’s case.
“I want justice for my son,” she said.
Schenectady police confirm they are looking into the 2006 incident involving Jamari. Schenectady County District Attorney Bob Carney said his office was not aware of it, but he said that doesn’t mean investigators aren’t giving it a second look.
Decuir pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. He’s in the Schenectady County Jail without bail.