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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. – A Michigan mother and her boyfriend are behind bars after the woman’s toddler son suffered severe burns last week while he was being punished for a potty training accident, authorities said.

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According to WEYI and WJRT, Keyanna Pope, 27, and boyfriend Kenyatta Gardner, 24, both of Genesee County, are facing one count each of torture, first-degree child abuse and first-degree child abuse in the presence of another child, as well as two counts each of obstructing justice in connection with the incident.

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton told the news outlets that the couple called police Feb. 4 to report that the 2 1/2-year-old boy wasn’t breathing properly. Authorities later learned that the boy had suffered severe burns to his stomach and groin, as well as renal failure, the outlets reported.

Leyton said investigators believe the couple had hurt the boy, who is now “clinging to life,” as punishment for “some issues with potty training,” according to WJRT.

“Perhaps the mother and boyfriend got upset about it, and put him, as punishment, in a tub of scalding hot water, which resulted in these dramatic burns,” Leyton told WEYI.

Another child was in the home at the time, WJRT reported. The biological father of the two children may be awarded custody, Leyton told WJRT.

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