FLORENCE — A woman will spend 27 years in prison for killing her 3-year-old cousin by pouring pots of scalding water down her pants after she urinated on herself during potty training.

The child, who was developmentally disabled and had cerebral palsy, died several days after the abuse after the burns became infected and she wasn’t taken for medical help for several days, prosecutors said.

Kesha Grant, 24, pleaded guilty Monday to homicide by child abuse, the Morning News of Florence reported.

“These burns were intentional – all because Ty’Lashia wet her pants. She told us she remembers Ty’Lashia screaming in pain, but instead of going to the hospital, she was worried about her own self and going to jail,” Florence County sheriff’s investigator Jennifer Floyd said.

The child had been removed from her mother’s home in January 2011 and placed with her great aunt, 44-year-old Geraldine Brockington. Brockington is also charged with homicide by child abuse, and her case should be resolved later this week, prosecutors said.

Brockington and Grant were trying to potty train the girl and scalded her with the water after she soiled herself, authorities said.

The pair then made the girl sleep on pads used to potty train animals and refused to get medical attention for the burns, prosecutors said.

An autopsy found the girl died from a widespread infection caused by the burns and an overdose of adult pain medication given to the child, authorities said.

Grant’s 6-year-old son watched the girl get burned and was ordered by his mother to heat up water in the microwave, investigators said.

Grant apologized before she was sentenced.

“I didn’t take her to the hospital because I didn’t want to get in trouble. I was scared, but part of being an adult is taking responsibility for your actions, I take full responsibility but I am asking for you to forgive me. It doesn’t take life for me to learn my lesson. So please be merciful to me. Please,” Grant said.

Florence County Department of Social Services officials said they regretted putting the child with Grant and Brockington.

The girl was in classes at Carver Elementary School when she died, and her teacher said the death for the girl nicknamed “Lil’ Bit” because she weighed 26 pounds was devastating for the entire school because everyone loved her.

“She was much smaller than the other children, but the name also fit, because no matter the circumstances, Ty’Lashia made each day a lil’ bit brighter,” Meagan Johnson said. “Ty’Lashia had a great impact in the short time she was with us, but the greater impact this tragedy can have is to prevent anything like this happening to another child.”


Information from: Morning News, http://www.scnow.com