An Urbandale mother is in jail, and her 6-year-old daughter is recovering from second-degree burns in a child endangerment case that police said almost went unnoticed.
Helena Cole, 34, is charged with child endangerment causing physical injury.
Urbandale police said they learned about the child endangerment thanks, in part, to an intuitive teacher who noticed that the child had been kept home from school last week.
“The school was alerted by the fact that the child hadn’t shown up in a few days and was concerned,” Urbandale police Sgt. Chad Underwood said.
Urbandale school officials showed up to Cole’s apartment and found the girl badly burned inside.
“We know the child had been injured for at least a few days,” Underwood said.
Cole told police the second-degree burns on her daughter’s back and shoulders came from the shower.
“It was evident to us that these burns didn’t occur from a shower and had not been treated,” Underwood said.
Authorities took the girl to Blank Children’s Hospital so she could finally get the medical treatment she needed.
Neighbors like Marian Dennis said they cannot believe a mother would deny her child the care they need.
“If you have a child, you have to love that child like yourself and don’t allow that child to be hurt,” Dennis said. “You have to care for the child.”
Urbandale School officials told KCCI all of their teachers take “mandatory reporter training” and the “safety, security, and well-being of their students is their top priority.”
“I think this is a situation where school officials and the department of human services and the police department all worked together to ensure that this child received proper medical care,” Underwood said.
Authorities said they are still trying to figure out how the child got the burns. More charges could be pending.