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Kannapolis man accused of burning toddler

By Frank DeLoache
fdeloache@salisburypost.com
A 21-year-old Kannapolis man has been charged with felony child abuse two months after a child was brought to a local emergency room with severe burns to his buttocks and legs.
Demetrius Collins, who lives off the Mooresville Road area of the city, already has posted $20,000 bond and been released from the Cabarrus County Jail, according to jail records.
The 15-month-old boy who was burned has been released from the hospital but not before receiving skin grafts, Detective Sgt. Chris Nesbitt said Tuesday.
Kannapolis Police Detective C.H. Hearne conducted a “lengthy investigation” before authorities decided to charge Collins, but because of the pending case and to protect the child, Nesbitt said he could not provide a lot of detail.
The Post is not publishing Collins’ home address to protect the child.
The boy’s mother brought the child to a local hospital emergency room on April 10. Nesbitt said a report doesn’t indicate which hospital.
The toddler, who was 15 months old at the time, had suffered second-degree burns to 20 percent of his body, specifically his buttocks and upper legs.
The child was transferred to the burn center at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. While there, doctors were able to graft the skin of an animal onto the boy’s burns, a procedure known as Xenografting, Nesbitt said.
Doctors at the hospital contacted the Cabarrus County Department of Social Services, which contacted the Kannapolis Police Department.
Nesbitt didn’t want to say where and how the boy was burned or the relationship of the boy to Collins. He would only say Collins “was a not a stranger” to the boy.
Hearne’s investigation took more than two months because she had to gather evidenced from several doctors in different places, as well as consult with the Cabarrus County District Attorney’s Office and others in the Police Department, Nesbitt said.
Nesbitt noted that Collins has no previous criminal history in Cabarrus County.

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