Terrace man allegedly burned children with cigarettes

EVERETT — When the police officer asked the Mountlake Terrace boy if he felt it was safe to go home, he turned away and shook his head.

His sores had been discovered and photographed by his grandmother, who first noticed them on the tops of his feet during a sleepover last week.

The child also had the marks on his legs and a finger. He told an officer that the spots were caused by cigarettes that his uncle used to burn his skin.

The boy said he wasn’t the only one to endure that abuse.

Police believe a Mountlake Terrace man used cigarettes to burn three children — ages 9, 4 and 22 months.

A suspect, 26, was arrested Tuesday for investigation of second-degree domestic violence child assault. His been jailed in lieu of $250,000 bail.

The Herald is not naming the suspect because he’s not been charged and to protect the identity of the children. At least two of them share the same last name as their uncle.

State Child Protective Services workers took the three children out of the home.

Officers who removed the 4-year-old girl from the home reported that the dwelling smelled strongly of urine.

Two of the children had at least 10 burn marks on their feet and legs, court papers said.

The 4-year-old girl “showed classic signs of an abused child,” police wrote in a report. She was described as being non-verbal and wearing diapers.

The suspect initially denied hurting the children. Later he admitted that he burned them several times during the course of a year when he lost his temper with them, according to a police report. The man lived in the home with the children and his sister, according to court papers.

Mountlake Terrace police Cmdr. Doug Hansen said reports of assaults on children are rare in his city. “When you get them, it tears at your heart,” he said.

It was not the first time that the Mountlake Terrace man had come under suspicion of hurting the oldest child.

In 2012, the boy’s father sought a court order asking a judge to keep the boy’s uncle away from two of the children. He said he noticed bruises during a visit with the older child.

At that time, the boy allegedly told his dad that his uncle had been kicking him.

The father’s petition was dismissed after a court hearing in which neither side appeared before the judge, court papers said.

Prosecutors said Wednesday that they believe the suspect left the state during a previous police investigation.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

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