Police: Indiana woman burned friend’s baby with lighter, held her face against running treadmill


Photo: Delaware County Prosecutor’s Office

MUNCIE, Ind. (NewsNation/WXIN) — Police say an Indiana woman admitted that she burned her friend’s baby with a lighter all over her neck and arms, then held the baby’s face up against a treadmill while it was on.

Fort Wayne police say Amber Vannater, 20, abused her friend’s baby while babysitting the child and she now faces three counts of battery and three counts of neglect of a dependent.

The investigation started on Aug. 14, when police were called to Ball Memorial Hospital on a report of possible child abuse. A detective spoke with the child’s mother, who said Vannatter had been caring for the baby at her home in Muncie while she went to work.

When Vannatter dropped the child off at the mother’s work, she was reportedly bleeding from her mouth and had multiple large bruises on their face, torso and legs.

She also had a broken wrist, mouth injuries and several burns all over her body.

Officers found Vannatter and interviewed her. Court documents say she gave several different accounts of how the child became injured. She then told police she had gotten into an argument with her ex-boyfriend and was feeling depressed.

When the baby started crying, she told police she held the child’s face against a treadmill while it was on, and then proceeded to use a lighter to burn the child on the neck and arms, according to court documents.

Vannatter would then go on to admit to burning the child on at least two different occasions, but she denied striking or hitting the child.

Medical staff said the baby would have scarring from her injuries.

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