Teen Allegedly Burned Youngsters with Cigarettes and Lighter
Austin R. Garcia, a Bay City teenager, is facing charges for allegedly burning a couple of younger teens. What is interesting about this case is that even though Garcia is 18-years-of-age, which means that he is a legal adult according to Michigan law, and the kids he is said to have harmed are both minors, this case is actually not being charged as a child abuse case.
According to police reports, it all began when police were contacted by Bay Human Services. Apparently a supervisor had reported that one of his employees told him that a child she had been interviewing was claiming to have been burned with a cigarette.
The child, an 11-year-old boy, had a red mark on the side of his neck when the Human Services worker met with him. When she noticed it, she asked what had caused it, and was told that Garcia had burned the boy with his cigarette. During this discussion, the employee noticed additional burn marks on the child’s arm
When police made contact with the child, the boy told them that Garcia burned him for fun. Interestingly enough, however, he claimed to get along fine with Garcia other than that. As to how he had contact with Garcia to begin with, the boy told officers that Garcia was friends with his older, 15-year-old brother.
When police interviewed Garcia about the allegations, he said he did not remember having burned the boy. He also said that the child had burned himself, but he did admit to once burning him by accident with ash from his cigarette. This version of events was corroborated by the young boy’s older brother, who says that the 11-year-old sometimes sneaks cigarettes and has burned himself in the past.
Regardless, police arrested Garcia and took him into custody. Yet another thing that came to light after the arrest was that the young boy’s 13-year-old sister also claimed to have been burned by Garcia recently. In an interview with police, she told officers that Garcia had held a hot torch lighter against her left collarbone. When her skin bubbled from the burn, she said that Garcia had laughed at her.
Garcia has posted bond and is out of jail. However, he has been ordered to have no contact of any kind with either of the alleged victims. His preliminary examination has been scheduled for Wednesday, January 6th, at 2:30 pm.