A Gretna man has been booked with cruelty to a juvenile and filing a false police report after authorities say he accidentally dropped a 2-year-old girl into a pot of boiling water while drunk at a crawfish boil last weekend, then lied about getting robbed to cover it up.
John Evans, 30, of 605 26th St., was arrested by Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies Sunday and remains at the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center in Gretna in lieu of $105,000 bail, said Sgt. Larry Dyess, a sheriff's spokesman.
Witnesses said the girl, who is from Harvey, suffered second-degree burns during the party Saturday in 100 block of Fairfield Drive.
The child's uncle, Terrance Brown, said that the accident happened between 6:30 and 7 p.m. He said he had turned his back when he heard a scream and saw the girl lying on the ground. Initially he thought she was burned on her leg, but after taking her inside his apartment, he lifted her shirt and saw she also suffered burns on her torso.
The child was initially taken to Ochsner Medical Center-West Bank, before being transferred to a burn unit in Baton Rouge, he said. "She's going through the healing process,'' Brown said.
Terry Green, who attended the crawfish boil, said that Evans was carrying the child, when he tripped over an extension cord on a Space Walk.
"It really was a freak accident,'' Green said. "He (Evans) didn't have any control.''
Afterward, witnesses said, people at the party beat Evans.
Early Sunday about 12:30 a.m., Dyess said police received a report of a robbery in the parking lot of a movie theater on Manhattan Boulevard in Harvey. When authorities arrived, they found Evans who told them that he had been beaten and robbed by two men who stole his money and burned him with crab boil, Dyess said.
Investigators later brought Evans in for further questioning, at which time he admitted he had lied about the robbery, and instead sustained burns while at the crawfish boil.
Evans then voluntarily admitted that while at the party, he dropped the youngster into a large pot of boiling water, Dyess said. He said Evans said he lied about the robbery and burns to explain his injuries.
The girl was not identified by police, but Dyess said a relative of the child confirmed Evans' story.
Authorities do not believe Evans intentionally injured the child.
Brown said that he doesn't know why Evans concocted the story that he was robbed and beaten, other than, "I guess he was just scared.''
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