Fort Worth

Haltom City woman gets 57 1/2 years in prison for grandson’s scalding death

Patricia A. Flores arrives to her medical neglict murder trial at the Tim Curry Justice Center on Wednesday.
Patricia A. Flores arrives to her medical neglict murder trial at the Tim Curry Justice Center on Wednesday. Star-Telegram

A Haltom City woman who pleaded guilty to murder in her 2-year-old grandson’s scalding death last year was sentenced Thursday to 57  1/2 years in prison.

A jury handed Patricia Flores, 44, the punishment after deliberating for several hours Wednesday afternoon and all morning Thursday.

Flores — who delayed treatment for her grandson, Lyfe “Gabe” Flores, after he was badly burned by bathtub water at their Haltom City home — pleaded guilty Monday.

“She doesn’t deserve to walk among us,” prosecutor Kelly Meador said in a statement after Flores was sentenced. “Nothing can bring back Lyfe or make up for the loss of a child. We hope that the verdict will be some comfort to Lyfe’s family.”

Police said Flores waited six days before calling 911 last March after her grandson was burned. When she did, on March 30, she told the call taker that the boy appeared to be going into shock and was having trouble breathing.

Paramedics arrived at the home to find the boy breathing but unresponsive, with severe burns on his feet, hands, buttocks and genitals, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

He was taken to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, where he died April 4, 2016. Flores was the boy’s guardian.

Flores, according to the affidavit, told a Haltom City police officer that she had been preparing to clean the home and had run hot water in the bathtub for mopping.

When she left the bathroom for a few minutes, she said, she returned to find her grandson lying on the floor.

“She had checked on Lyfe earlier and thought he was asleep,” the affidavit stated. “Lyfe had pooped and peed on the bathroom floor and as Flores began to clean this up, she noticed that Lyfe had burns to his legs and hands.”

Flores told investigators that her grandson never yelled out or screamed in pain.

“Flores felt that since she was a trained certified nursing assistant, she could care for Lyfe’s injuries herself and never reported this incident, or sought medical care for Lyfe from a doctor,” the affidavit stated.

Cpl. T. Miller wrote in the affidavit that he believed Flores caused her grandson’s burns and then did not get him required treatment, eventually leading to his death.

“No child should have to suffer the way this little boy did,” Melinda Westmoreland, another prosecutor in the case, said in a statement after Thursday’s sentencing. “The last days of his life were more horrible and painful than most can imagine.”

After her grandson’s death, police had trouble locating Flores. She surrendered to deputies in Frio County, in South Texas, about two weeks later and was initially charged with injury to a child.

In September, a Tarrant County grand jury indicted her on a murder charge.

This report contains information from the Star-Telegram archives