When a 4-year-old Clayton County boy urinated on himself, his teen sister allegedly struck him multiple times with a leather belt, then held him in a tub of hot water as punishment.
And though their aunt, Aleisha Harris, knew the boy was injured, she chose not to get medical help for him until about 24 hours later, which Clayton County police said Wednesday contributed to Jamal Dunlap’s death.
Now the teenager and the aunt have been arrested on murder and first-degree child cruelty charges.
About 3:30 p.m. Friday, police went to a home in the 400 block of Flint Trail in reference to a child who had difficulty breathing, Clayton police Maj. Joe Woodall said.
That child, later identified as Jamal, was immediately taken to Southern Regional Medical Center, where officials told police he had second- and third-degree burns over more than 40 percent of his body.
Police said his burn injuries likely came from being submerged in the tub of hot water.
Jamal died 27 minutes after police responded to his home.
Harris’ brother told Channel 2 Action News his sister is only to blame for trying to “help a family in need.”
He said Harris was taking care of the children because their parents left them with the family and never returned to get them.
“The sister said he needed to be in the bath because he peed on himself,” Harris’ brother told Channel 2.
Harris’ brother told Channel 2 she didn’t take the child to the hospital for a reason.
“We don’t know if they have insurance or not, so my sister was just taking care of him,” he said.
Arrest warrants were secured for Jamal’s sister and aunt on Feb. 23, Woodall said.
They were being held without bond Wednesday in the Clayton County Jail.