Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Florida Couple Arrested for Pouring Boiling Water on their Daughter

Yadzia Ivelisse Morales, Roberto Junior Lopez

We’ve covered many cases of child abuse here at Crime Library. Some are so heinous, they give us nightmares.

This week, one case struck a chord. A Florida couple are accused of deliberately pouring boiling water on a six-year-old girl as punishment. Police say the girl’s mother, Yadzia Ivelisse Morales, microwaved a bowl of water until it was boiling, and then she and her boyfriend, Roberto Junior Lopez, poured the hot water onto the crying girl. The child, suffering from second and third degree burns over 30 percent of her body, including her face, is recovering at a local hospital. Morales and Lopez are facing child abuse charges.

When I tell people that I write about crime, I’m often asked if dredging through the most depressing news stories makes me hate people. No. I often find myself feeling compassionate for those who’ve done terrible things, because I’ve come to understand that sometimes people snap or have major lapses in judgement and are left to deal with the severe consequences of a single, ill advised action. I don’t excuse their behavior, but often, I understand it.

This I don’t understand. The intentional microwaving of water for the purpose of pouring it onto a crying child, is an action beyond comprehension and beyond compassion. A quarter century later, my mother still tears up when she thinks about the time that I, as a toddler, pulled a full kettle of hot water onto myself. She won’t talk about rushing my scalded little body to the hospital, or the weeks of painful bandage changes.

What makes Morales (allegedly) different from my mother, and most mothers, who’d never want to see their child in pain? To understand would mean to delve into Morales’s life, and to then probably uncover a violent childhood of her own. If this is the case, then, knowing that violence begets violence, we can at least find a shred of explanation for her actions. Still, if the charges against her are true, somewhere between the microwave and her daughter’s body, she had a chance to stop, think, and break the cycle of abuse.

Morales and Lopez are in Osceola County Jail without bond.

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