December 18, 2014

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Mother facing charges after girl shows up at school with burns

WELLINGTON — A 9-year-old girl with serious burns on her hand raised the suspicions of school officials in March, especially when police rolled up the girl’s sleeve and found bruises along her arm.

Police and Lorain County Children Services investigated. Two days later, the girl revealed the real cause of her injuries: her 30-year-old mother, Ashley Gundert, police said.

Gundert, a Wellington mother of four, including a 12-year-old daughter, an 8-year-old daughter and an infant son, was indicted May 1 on charges of felonious assault, endangering children and domestic violence.

The indictment comes almost two months after the initial incident March 6 when Gundert’s 9-year-old daughter entered Westwood School with second-degree burns on her hand, a police report said. A Westwood School nurse called police and Children Services to investigate.

Officers asked the girl where she got the injuries. She told them she was doing dishes and got burned by hot water two nights in a row.

“When she started to explain this, she looked down and her voice got noticeably lower,” police wrote.

The girl’s father, Jason Williams, told police he hadn’t heard about the burning, but that “(Gundert) treats (the 9-year-old) more harshly than the other two girls,” according to the police report.

The 9-year-old was treated at a hospital for her burns. When she was discharged, Williams took her to stay with his parents while police investigated Gundert.

In questioning, Gundert corroborated her daughter’s story — that the 9-year-old got burned from the hot dish water. When police told Gundert the story doesn’t explain the type of burns her daughter had, Gundert replied that she was “not changing her story,” police said.

A day after the investigation began, police interviewed the 9-year-old again, who told them that her mother was to blame for her injuries.

According to the police report, Gundert got angry when her daughter said the water was too hot while doing the dishes. Gundert held the 9-year-old’s hand under scalding water for 10 minutes, causing the burns, police said. Police rolled up the girl’s sleeve and found bruises along her arm, causes by someone holding her tightly, according to the report.

Gundert was taken to Lorain County Jail where she is held on a $20,000 bond until her next hearing 8:30 a.m. Friday at Lorain Court of Common Pleas.

Contact Anna Merriman at 329-7245 or amerriman@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AnnaLMerriman.