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Published: Wednesday, 4/21/2010

Family calls scalding death of 3-year-old a tragic accident


The death of a toddler who was scalded head-to-toe with hot water is being investigated by Toledo police, but the child's grandmother said the death was a horrible accident.

Shaniya Sullivan, 3, died late Tuesday at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. Her death is being investigated as suspicious pending the results of an autopsy, Toledo Police Sgt. Phil Toney said.

Rescue crews were called to 2819 F St. about 8:35 p.m. to check the safety of a child, and found the girl on the floor in cardio-respiratory arrest.

Shaniya was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and was unable to walk, said her grandmother, Cecelia Streeter. One friend said she "scooted" when she played outside with her siblings.

The child was being bathed by her 11-year-old sister and her friend because Shaniya had "messed herself," according to Ms. Streeter. The mother, Latoya "TT" Sullivan, was out shopping with her for school uniforms for her seven children and an uncle was home, watching television in another room, Ms. Streeter said.

The older children left the room to get a towel, with Shaniya in the bathtub filling with bubbles and lukewarm water. The grandmother said the family believes she turned on the hot water, lost her balance, hit her head, and slipped underwater.

The older children were frightened, and ran out of the house in opposite directions. The child was likely dead by the time family and emergency crews arrived, Mrs. Streeter said.

Shaniya Sullivan Shaniya Sullivan
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