This article contains a graphic description of a child’s death. Please read with caution.

A horrific scene greeted Kansas City emergency responders on Fri. Feb 9, 2024, when they arrived at the home of Mariah Thomas; a deceased 1-month-old infant with burn marks on its body, and melted clothing. Thomas later told the police she put her baby in the oven, instead of a crib for a nap.

According to NBC News, Thomas lived with her parents, the baby’s grandparents, in the Kansas City home when the bizarre and tragic death happened. Thomas’ parents, who were unnamed in the press, were not at home when the infant died.

According to Thomas’ mother, her daughter called her and said she mistakenly put the child, reportedly named Za’Riah, in the oven rather than the crib. Thomas’ dad returned home shortly after, smelled smoke, and found his grandchild dead.

Thomas was arrested

After the infant died, Mariah Thomas, 26, was arrested and charged with felony child endangerment in the first degree. If convicted, Thomas could spend at least 10 years in prison.

Referring to the child’s death, Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said,

“We acknowledge the gruesome nature of this tragedy and our hearts are weighted by the loss of this precious life. We trust the criminal justice system to respond appropriately to these awful circumstances.”

via The Kansas City Star

Thomas lived with mental health issues

In the aftermath of Za’Riah’s death, Mariah Thomas’ longtime friend, who remained unidentified in the press, said Thomas had lived with mental health issues for some time, had stopped taking her medications while pregnant, and that Thomas’ overall mental health declined after she gave birth, according to The Daily Beast.

“Mariah has been dealing with mental illnesses since a child,” her friend said. “I know Mariah didn’t do it on purpose … She didn’t mean to hurt her baby … She loved her baby dearly,” she added.

As of this report, an investigation into what the authorities have called the child’s “suspicious death” was ongoing, and it was unclear when Thomas might appear in court.

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