Crime

When her tot was badly burned, she chose Google over a hospital. He’s dead; she’s in jail.

Cristina Hurt, with defense attorney Damaris del Valle, was taken into custody Monday after prosecutors upgraded her charge to second-degree murder.
Cristina Hurt, with defense attorney Damaris del Valle, was taken into custody Monday after prosecutors upgraded her charge to second-degree murder. Miami Herald

When her infant son suffered extensive burns to his body, Cristina Hurt did not call 911 or take him to the hospital.

Instead, she searched the Internet.

A Miami judge on Monday heard that the South Miami-Dade mother visited several websites detailing how to treat minor burns, texted images of her son’s swollen red legs to a friend and apparently smeared aloe on the injuries. For an entire night, the baby writhed in pain as she gave the baby Tylenol and painfully draped the child in clothes and a diaper on the raw skin peeling off his lower body.

Not until the next morning did Hurt take the boy to a friend, laying him on a mattress outside when a passerby called 911.

“I don’t think there was any doubt he was in extreme pain,” Dr. Walter Lambert, of the University of Miami’s Child Protection Team, testified Monday at a bond hearing for Hurt. “Crying, screaming, shivering.”

He added: “He should have been taken to the hospital, immediately.”

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Dr. Walter Lambert, head of the University of Miami’s Child Protection Team, testifies Monday about the injuries to baby Ethan Coley. David Ovalle Miami Herald

The graphic details of Ethan Coley’s painful death emerged Monday as a Miami-Dade judge ordered Hurt back into jail because prosecutors have upgraded her charge from manslaughter to second-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. The State Attorney’s Office also announced it would be seeking an indictment for first-degree murder.

“This child’s life was not important enough for her to seek help,” prosecutor Eileen Keeley told the judge.

Dixie Rogers recalls the moments when Christina Hurt appeared at her home with 1-year-old Ethan Coley in critical condition on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2017.

The hearing came nearly three weeks after Hurt — who had a long history with Florida’s child welfare agency and had her children taken from her on several occasions — was arrested for the death of 1-year-old Ethan. Hurt claimed that her 10-year-old daughter accidentally doused the baby in scalding hot bath water at their home in the 12000 block of Southwest 217th Street in Goulds.

“There is zero evidence that this child’s burns were caused at the hands of Ms. Hurt,” Assistant Public Defender Damaris del Valle told the judge.

Police said she did not call police for fear of again losing custody of her kids. Hurt had been free on bond since several days after her initial arrest for manslaughter.

Miami-Dade prosecutors argued that Hurt needed to be back in jail because she is now facing life in prison and could try making contact with her surviving children, who are now in state custody.

“This woman is a danger to the community and obviously a danger to her own children,” prosecutor Sara Imm said.

Circuit Judge Victoria Del Pino agreed.

“The court feels she is a high flight risk based on the charges being elevated,” Del Pino said.

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