Mother Of Burned Girl Given Probation

11-Year-Old Girl's Burns Went Untreated For Nearly 2 Weeks

The mother of an 11-year-old girl whose second- and third-degree burns went untreated for nearly two weeks was sentenced on Thursday.

Sharon Wessel, 36, received an 18-year suspended sentence, with 10 years of non-reporting probation after pleading guilty to neglect, said Marion County Prosecutor's Office spokesman Mario Massillamany.

Wessel and her late husband, Fredrick Wessel, were arrested in January after someone called 911 to report that their daughter, Heather Wessel, had been badly burned.

Police said the girl was standing near a propane heater inside the family's southeast-side home at 343 Villa Ave. on Dec. 24 when her pajama bottoms caught fire. Her parents told police that she had been unable to walk, but that they had been treating her burns with moisturizer.

Six people quoted in the probable cause affidavit, including several family members, told police that they had seen the girl lying on the couch in pain, and had known that she was not able to walk because of the burns.

Ambulance records obtained by 6News showed that Fredrick Wessel -- who had recently undergone a tracheotomy -- called medics to the family's home at least once for himself after his daughter had been burned. He also faced charges but died last month from lung cancer.

Heather Wessel and her 14-year-old brother were placed in the custody of the state.

Marion Superior Court Judge Mark Stoner said he opted to send Wessel home because of the needs of her daughter and because she has a low IQ score.