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Woman convicted of putting bleach in her baby’s eyes

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Jennifer Mothershead appears at her arraignment in May 2012. (Photo: Peter Haley/The News Tribune of Tacoma)

TACOMA — A Pierce County Superior Court jury has convicted a 31-year-old Buckley woman of child assault for allegedly putting bleach drops in her 1-year-old daughter’s eyes in 2011, it was reported Monday.

Jennifer Mothershead was convicted by jurors last Friday and will be sentenced on Nov. 15, The News Tribune reported.

In May 2011, Mothershead’s 15-month-old daughter was airlifted from Tacoma to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center after suffering a blow to the head. While treating her, medical staff noticed that a previously diagnosed eye condition had worsened.

Mothershead told authorities that her daughter was sleeping up to 22 hours a day because exposure to sunlight had become extremely painful to her eyes.

Mothershead admitted that she had given the child eye medication. She also said her daughter was a “fighter” when it came to the eye drops. Mothershead did not explain how the girl attained the initial head injury, and the child was taken into protective custody.

When hospital staff and detectives investigated the eye drops that the child had been administered, they noticed a strong odor. A detective said the drops caused a minor burning sensation when placed on his wrist.

“One of the things our detectives were concerned about was a lack of concern for the toddler from the mom and we started looking into it,” Pierce County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Ed Troyer said in April 2012.  “We found one of the eye drop bottles of chemicals, which basically burned our detectives. It obviously wasn’t something that should be going in someone’s eyes.”

After testing at the Food and Drug Administration’s Forensic Chemistry labs, scientists determined that the eye drops contained bleach. The child’s eye injuries were consistent with bleach exposure, and the child had suffered to an extent that they ruled out the possibility that the dropper had simply been cleaned with bleach.

The eye drops caused permanent vision damage, prosecutors say.

The victim has been living with her biological father since 2012.


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  • guest

    poor baby! hopefully she will have no further contact with her 'mother' and has a complete recovery. as for this woman, i hope she goes to prison for many years and that her fellow prisoners give her some well deserved jailhouse justice.

  • Vicki Carrell

    I don't understand people like her and I never will to hurt a baby. I pray this baby has a good life and never sees that so called mother. Permanent vision damage and how painful that must have been for that baby to have bleach put in her eyes, makes me sick. Maybe they should put a few drops in her eyes to feel the pain.

  • esco

    I'm amazed at how cold and cruel some folks are, This is the first I've heard of this case and I'm glad she's convicted. Hopefully someone slaps some sense into her on a daily.