12 OYS: Toddler drinks paint thinner left in water bottle by workers, says mom

By: Jerome Collins Email
By: Jerome Collins Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / July 21, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW) -- April Hatcher said her grandson means everything in the world to her.

"That's my baby. That's her baby she had him, but that's my baby. That's grandma baby," said Hatcher.

She said there is nothing she would not do to protect 3 year-old Exzavius Hatcher. But on July 10, she said she was helpless to keep him safe.

"After a long day playing in the sun, and in the pool, he came in and he was thirsty, and that's the first thing he saw," said Hatcher.

It was a spring water bottle sitting on the floor. But instead of water, Hatcher said the liquid inside the bottle was paint thinner.

"He consumed enough to burn his mouth and his throat," said Hatcher. His mother Laquana Hatcher said she feared for her young son.

"He was just saying that his mouth was hot, and it hurt," said Hatcher.

Laquana dialed 911, and Exzavius was rushed to University Hospital with burns on his lip. April Hatcher said maintenance workers at the apartment building had been painting the unit earlier in the day and left the bottle behind.

"Why would you take chemicals like this out of the original container, and pour it in a water bottle," said Hatcher.

We tried it too, pouring paint thinner in a plastic water bottle. The water and paint thinner look exactly the same.

Hatcher said she filed a police report, and has kept notes on the number of times she has called property management and the corporate office. Hatcher said she has not heard back.

"Not an apology, not I'm sorry or we're sorry for leaving it behind," said Hatcher.

She said with all the children that live in the complex, she is worried it will not be the last time something like this occurs. "What if it happens to someone else," said Hatcher.

She told News 12 that she is not looking for a meal ticket, but at least an apology, and at most for the complex to cover the emergency room visit. Meanwhile we left a message with the corporate office in New Jersey, but have not heard back yet.

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