Jennifer Lynn Mothershead, the 29-year-old Washington state mother of a 15-month-old girl was charged with first degree child abuse on Monday. Doctors at Seattle Children's Hospital were shocked to discover that Mothershead had been administering bleach into her young daughter's eyes.
Last May Mothershead's daughter was hospitalized due to a brain injury. Doctors became suspicious of the mother when they discovered that the child had bruising and an eye infection. Further fueling their suspicion was Motherhead's lack of concern. Records obtained by MSNBC report that the mother was unperturbed about the situation, and was not sure what caused her child's head injury.
While the child was in the hospital the doctors confiscated the eye drops that Mothershead had been administering. Upon opening the bottle doctors discovered the root of the child's eye infection. When the eye drop bottle was opened, a noxious smell filled the room. According to court records the contents of the eye drop bottle had caused staff members present to experience burning eyes and mild nausea.
The Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus discovered through laboratory tests the eye drops contained a pH of 6.0 as well as bleach, reported MSNBC.
According to the Daily Mail, the child's eye injuries matched symptoms of bleach exposure. It was ruled out that cleaning the bottle with bleach would not have showed the same symptoms the child was experiencing.
The child had been previously diagnosed with an eye condition that was worsening with the eye drops. Her condition had led her to sleep almost 22 hours a day to the extreme discomfort and pain she was feeling. According to doctors, the child's right eye has permanent lost vision due to the bleach exposure.
Mothershead's child is currently living with her father, Cody B. Mothershead, a math teacher at White River High School. The child's father, who is separated from the mother, reportedly knew nothing about the abuse, claiming that his daughter's medical condition was used by his wife to deny visitation.
Jennifer Mothershead pleaded not guilty. Her bail was set at $150,000.