A 23-year-old South Carolina mother is behind bars after allegedly setting fire to her car Sunday with her son — who is a little over one year old — inside, leaving him with severe burns all over his body, say police.
Caylin Watson of Columbia is charged with attempted murder, first-degree arson, third-degree arson, and abuse/infliction of great bodily injury on a child, the Columbia Police Department says in a statement.
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Watson allegedly set the car on fire after a violent argument Sunday with the child’s father, according to a report released by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department Wednesday.
The child’s father, Steve Bramson, told police that on Sunday, when he was at Watson’s house to check on his son, Watson “became very angry and an altercation ensued,” the Richland County Sheriff’s report says.
Watson allegedly approached the child’s father with a knife and threw two flower pots at the windshield of his girlfriend’s car, which he had driven to Watson’s house, the Richland report says.
After shattering the windshield with the pots, Watson allegedly rammed the girlfriend’s car with her 2010 Camry — with the child in the car.
After the child’s father drove to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to report what had allegedly just happened, Watson allegedly called him to tell him that she was “just going to drive off into the water,” the Richland report says.
Concerned because Watson still had the boy with her, deputies pinged her phone, which showed she was near Columbia River Front Park. By the time deputies got to the park, Watson and the boy were gone.
Watson was driving on I-126 when she pulled over.
With the car parked on the side of the road, Watson allegedly “lit her car on fire with her 14-month-old baby inside, burning him severely all over his body,” the Columbia Police Department says in its statement.
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A Good Samaritan stopped and pulled the child out of the blazing car, local station WACH reports.
“I really want to thank the gentleman who pulled my son out of the vehicle,” Bramson told WACH. “I have not met him yet. I do not know his name but I want to formally thank him for saving my son’s life.”
The child was taken to a local hospital before being airlifted to the Augusta Burn Center in Georgia, where he is listed in critical condition with severe burns.
“Watson was detained by authorities after they found evidence suggesting the fire was intentionally set,” police say in the statement.
She was treated for minor injuries at a local hospital before she was taken to jail at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, where she is being held without bond.
It is unclear whether she has retained an attorney who can speak on her behalf or whether she has entered a plea.
The boy’s father has started a Go Fund Me for his medical expenses.