published Monday, February 13th, 2012

Burned toddler found in Chattanooga meth lab

A Chattanooga woman has been arrested after police say her 2-year-old was severely burned at the family's residence -- where they also found a collection of meth labs.

Elizabeth Cushwa, 31, has been charged with aggravated child abuse, initiating manufacture of methamphetamine and three counts of reckless endangerment in relation to the case, said Chattanooga police spokesman Officer Nathan Hartwig.

Police searched the home at 6393 Fairview Road after receiving a tip about the burned boy and the meth lab. Hartwig said investigators found the 2-year-old boy with second-degree burns to his chest and stomach and discovered eight one-pot meth labs -- also known as "shake'n'bakes."

Police also found a 4-year-old boy in the home who did not appear to have any injuries, Hartwig said.

Both boys, and their 7-year-old brother -- who was in school when police arrived at the home -- were taken to the Children's Hospital at Erlanger for treatment and testing. It has not been determined if the boy was burned from chemicals associated with the meth labs, Hartwig said.

The Tennessee Meth Task Force, Department of Children's Services and the Chattanooga Police Department's Narcotics and Child Abuse Units have been assigned to the case, said Hartwig.

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