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Police: Badly burned baby dies after mom uses cocoa butter on wounds

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HOUSTON (KHOU) – A Houston mother has been charged in connection with the death of her 11-month-old daughter.

Habibo Ibrahim, 27, is charged with reckless injury to a child and injury to a child by omission.

Honay Buwa was badly burned at the Fulton Street Apartments in March.

Ibrahim initially told investigators that the baby knocked a pan of boiling water off the stove. When they questioned her further, Ibrahim changed her story. She said she came downstairs and discovered her daughter's pajamas were on fire, according to court documents.

Instead of taking the baby to the hospital, Ibrahim tried to treat the burns herself with acetaminophen and cocoa butter, police said.

"She would take the acetaminophen apart and sprinkle the powder into the cocoa butter, is my understanding, and then rub that on the baby's body," said Sara Marie Kinney with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

The baby got worse. By the time Ibrahim called for help, it was too late.

"All we saw was the lady called the ambulance, after she felt like she couldn't do anything," said a neighbor. "The ambulance came over, then the police."

Ibrahim told police she was afraid to take her baby to the doctor.

"It must have been really horrible for that kid. That baby laid there and suffered," said Juanita Lewis, another neighbor.

But one neighbor defended Ibrahim, who is from Somalia.

"That comes from Africa, she is used to doing things her own way," The woman said. "I honestly don't think she was trying to hurt this baby. I believe she was trying to doctor on her baby and do what she could."

The medical examiner said the baby died from toxicity caused by the acetaminophen. He said the baby probably would have survived the burns if she had received proper medical care.

Ibrahim remains jailed on a $30,000 bond.

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