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District Attorney - Child Abuse Unit Press Releases

Posted on: May 28, 2015

05/28/2015 - 35-Year Sentence in Case Where Boy was Badly Burned

Yesterday, 399th District Court Judge Ray Olivarri sentenced Matthew White, age 27, to 35 years in prison. Earlier this month, White entered a no contest plea to the charge of Injury to a Child Intentionally/Knowingly Causing Serious Bodily Injury.

In December 2013, White and his girlfriend, Emily Sanford, were arrested after her 3-year-old son sustained horrific burns to his genital area and the tops of his feet. Investigators said White told Sanford not to take her son to the hospital because he would get into trouble. Instead, the couple put cream on the boy’s burns. Days following the incident, Sanford finally took her son to the hospital “because he started to stink.” The child’s burns were so severe and badly infected that he almost died. White has always maintained that the boy burned himself in the shower when he was briefly left unattended. However, the shower water was tested and it was determined it could not have caused those injuries. According to police, White was left alone with the child while Sanford would go to work.

“Our office is dedicated to seeking justice for abused children in our community,” said District Attorney Nico LaHood. “I hope the message is clear that if you harm a child – you will pay the consequences.”

In February, the boy’s mother, Emily Sanford, was sentenced to 24 years in prison for not reporting the abuse. Injury to a Child Intentionally/Knowingly Causing Serious Bodily Injury is a first degree felony, punishable by 5-99 years or life in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine. Prosecutor Meredith Chacon from the Child Abuse Unit handled the case.