Miami-Dade County

A boy fights for his life with burns, severe injuries. His mom’s boyfriend is arrested.

Khalil Jabali
Khalil Jabali Miami-Dade Corrections

A 4-year-old boy suffered burns that caused his “skin to peel off,” after police say his mother’s boyfriend left a bowl of boiling water on the bathroom sink while he checked on another child, according to police. A prosecutor said the boy also had brain contusions, broken ribs and bleeding in the brain.

On Tuesday, he was still fighting for his life in a hospital.

The mom’s boyfriend, Khalil Jabali, 23, has been charged with aggravated child abuse. He told officers he planned on using the hot water to clean the boy’s clothes, because the child had urinated on himself. Police said the day before the boy had also wet his bed, but the clothes were cleaned in a washing machine.

After his arrest Sunday, an interview with the child’s 6-year-old sister led to an additional charge of lewd and lascivious molestation after the girl told investigators he touched her inappropriately.

According to an arrest report, Jabali was watching his girlfriend’s three children inside a Miami Gardens home Saturday night into Sunday morning when the boy wet his bed.

Just after 12:30 a.m., according to the report, Jabali called his girlfriend, who was at work, to tell her that the boy had wet his bed and that he “got burned by hot water that he left in the bathroom when her younger child started crying.”

He sent her two pictures of the boy, police said.

At about 3 a.m., she left work and took the boy to Jackson North Medical Center. He was then taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center, according to the report. That’s when police were called.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year.

During a court hearing Monday, shown on WPLG Local 10, a prosecutor told a judge that the boy’s injuries were severe.

“He has tremendous injuries,” the prosecutor said. “Brain contusions, bleeding around the brain and in the chest cavity, broken ribs. They do not know if he is going to survive and if he does, he will likely be in a vegetative state.”

Police do not explain those injuries in the report. They only say that he was burned on 15 percent of his body.

Jabali told police, after being read his rights, that he microwaved the water for three to four minutes and then went to the bathroom where the boy was. He put it on the sink and “stepped out of the bathroom to check on the other child.”

“He returned to the bathroom to discover the victim on the floor moaning and his skin peeling off,” an officer wrote.

He said the boy’s mom told him to put Vaseline on the boy.

“They went to sleep and he later noticed that more of the victim’s skin was peeling off,” the officer wrote. “The [defendant] stated that he took his clothes off and the victim’s clothing to take a shower together, and he placed the victim on the tub.”

Jabali, according to the report, then left the bathroom, heard a noise, and returned to find the boy “laying in the tub unresponsive.”

He did not call 911 for help, police said.

After the arrest, another one of the children, the 6-year-old sister, told investigators that she was in her mother’s bed one day and Jabali “touched her vaginal area over her clothing.” The incident, police say, happened when she was 5.

One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Carli Teproff grew up in Northeast Miami-Dade and graduated from Florida International University in 2003. She became a full-time reporter for the Miami Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news.