Newark Woman Admits Scalding Three-Year-Old

Newark -- Acting Essex County Prosecutor Theodore N. Stephens, II, announced today that Patricia Buchan, 29, of Newark admitted to scalding a three-year-old boy she was entrusted to her care.

Appearing before the Honorable Verna Leath, Judge of the Superior Court, Buchan told the court that on Dec. 4, 2018 the three-year-old urinated on the floor in her son’s room.

Officials say she admitted telling the child to take off his clothes, get in the bathtub and then took a pot of boiling water from the stove and poured it on the boy’s lower body, resulting in second degree burns.

Assistant Prosecutor Michael Morris, who handled the case, said under the terms of a plea agreement Patricia Buchan will face up to five years in New Jersey State Prison.

She must serve 85 percent of her sentence before she is eligible for parole.

“This child lived his first three years in a house of horrors,’’ said Assistant Prosecutor Morris. “Today’s plea resolves the case without the ordeal of the children having to testify.”

Newark public preschool officials alerted authorities to the abuse.

Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 6, before Judge Leath.

The boy and the five other children lived in the home, including four of Patricia Buchan’s biological children, ranging in age from one to seven.

Buchan now has a fifth child with whom she was pregnant when the incident happened on Dec. 4, 2018.

Patricia Buchan and five other adults, including the mother of the three-year-old, Natacha Smith, 44, of Newark were arrested on Dec. 12, 2018 and charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

The others arrested were Patricia Gamarra, 63, Mary Buchan, 56, Bridget Buchan, 24, and Homer Searcy, 40. Searcy was dating Smith but is not related to the child victim.

Mary Buchan and Patricia Gamarra are sisters. Patricia Buchan and Bridget Buchan are Mary’s daughters.

They all lived together in one of the four units in an apartment building in the 200 block of Clinton Place.

The other adults have all been indicted. The final resolution of their cases is pending.

These defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they have pled guilty or have been convicted at trial.