A Florida mom was arrested for branding her children for identification. Kayla R. Oxenham, age 23, admits burning her 5 and 7-year-old daughters' arms with a hot stick. However, she said it was necessary to identify the children as hers.
Oxenham said her daughters attempted to resist the bizarre ritual. Although she promised them ice cream, the 5-year-old refused to be branded. Authorities said Oxenham eventually grabbed the girl by the hair and slammed her head into the wall.
As reported by WPTV News, both girls eventually consented to the branding. According to reports, the mother branded her children on their arms with a hot stick, which was set ablaze with a lighter.
Both children were enrolled in a local day care center where workers noticed the burns. Although the incident was reported to the Florida Department of Children and Families in March, the criminal investigation lasted several months.
Officials with the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office were tasked with collecting sufficient evidence to build a solid case.
When authorities completed their investigation, Oxenham was arrested and charged with child abuse. Although she denied abusing the girls, the mother admitted branding her children as a form of identification. She underlined the fact that she provided her daughters with ice cream as a reward.
During the police interview, the mother also admitted that she had forgotten "how much she loved fire."
Following her arrest, Oxenham's daughters were removed from the home and placed in protective custody. My Sun Coast reports that the mother was incarcerated on the charges. However, she was eventually released on $15,000 bond.
Although she admits she branded her children for identification, Oxenham did not explain why she thought the painful procedure was necessary. She contends the branding was not meant to be a form of abuse or harm toward her daughters.
Authorities have not revealed whether Oxenham has a history of violent behavior or mental illness. However, it is difficult to understand how a mother could intentionally burn her children unless she was emotionally disturbed.
Her comments about forgetting "how much she loved fire" may further indicate that she was not thinking clearly when she made the decision to brand her children.
According to official records, the young mother was employed as a medical assistant at the time of her arrest. Although she was released on bond, Oxenham is required to appear in court to face criminal charges for branding her children.
[Image via News-Press]