Texas Woman Accused Of Holding Toddler’s Hand Over Flame

EDINBURG (March 23, 2013)—Claudia Ponce, 26, a South Texas mother of six, was jailed Saturday, charged with injury to a child in an incident in which authorities say she tried to discipline her 2-year-old son by holding his hand over a kitchen stove burner flame.

Ponce was in the Hidalgo County Jail Saturday in lieu of $500,000 bond.

Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino called it the worst case of child abuse he's seen in his 41-year career.

Court documents reviewed by the The Monitor newspaper show that Ponce contended the boy burned himself by grabbing a hot pot from the stove.

Trevino said Ponce told authorities she was in the country illegally from Mexico and worked as a prostitute.

The 2-year-old was taken to a burn center in Galveston.

The other children were in the custody of child welfare authorities Saturday.