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Tyler man arrested after child severely burned in bathtub

Tyler-Longview KLTV logo Tyler-Longview KLTV 6/3/2022 Jeff Awtrey
Joshua Meekings © Provided by Tyler-Longview KLTV Joshua Meekings

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - A Tyler man is in jail after a child suffered third-degree burns in a bathtub.

Joshua Tranair Meekings, 26, is charged with first-degree injury to a child. He was arrested on Monday and is being held on a $1 million bond.

According to an arrest affidavit released to KLTV on Friday, a Smith County Sheriff’s Office detective was notified on May 27 that a child had been taken by medical helicopter to a Dallas hospital the day before for burn injuries.

According to the affidavit, Meekings, who is the child’s stepfather, told medical staff that the child had bumped against a stove, causing boiling water to spill on the boy’s lower body. CPS advised the injuries were not consistent with the explanation and the injuries were consistent with the child being dipped in boiling water.

The affidavit states the detective called the child’s mother. She said she came to the home on May 26 and found her son wrapped in a towel. She said once she saw his injuries, she told Meekings to call 911. She said the babysitter told her Meekings had placed the boy in the bathtub and turned on the water. The babysitter said Meekings then went to another room to play video games, leaving the boy alone in the bathtub. She said when the boy could not bear the heat of the water any long, he got out. The mother said Meekings then saw the boy’s burns and wrapped him in a towel.

According to the affidavit, the detective then talked to Meekings. Meekings said he had come over to give the boy a bath and had left him alone in there with running water for three to five minutes.

The detective next talked to a Dallas doctor, who said the child suffered burns over 33 to 36% of his body and a majority of he burns are third degree and he will require multiple surgeries. She said the boy is currently intubated and on a ventilator due to his medications.

Deputies did a check on the water temperature at the home. Once pooled, the water had a temperature of 140 degrees.

Despite Meekings saying he left the child alone in the bathtub, the affidavit states it is believed Meekings held the boy down in the bathtub, causing the injuries.

A warrant for Meekings’ arrest was obtained on May 27.

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