3-year-old with severe burns doing better, couple facing child a - | WBTV Charlotte

3-year-old with severe burns doing better, couple facing child abuse charges

(Credit: Family) (Credit: Family)
(Credit: Family) (Credit: Family)
Amy Leanne Clew, 21 and Justin Lee Osborne, 23 are charged with child abuse (Source: Iredell County Sheriff's Office) Amy Leanne Clew, 21 and Justin Lee Osborne, 23 are charged with child abuse (Source: Iredell County Sheriff's Office)
HARMONY, NC (WBTV) -

We now have a picture of the 3-year-old girl who was severely burned on her legs and feet. The girl's father and stepmother were charged with felony child abuse and are each being held on a million-dollar bond.

The Iredell County Sheriff's Office says the girl's burns were "consistent with being exposed to extremely hot water."

I spoke with a good friend of the biological mother Tuesday evening, who is acting as a spokesperson for the family. The friend of the family says little Diane Nicole has been moved from intensive care and is doing better.

"She's alert and talking," Melissa Brotherton said. "Her mom and grandmother say she's starting some physical therapy and had some major improvements since this took place."

So what is it, exactly, that took place to send this innocent child to the pediatric ICU?

Brotherton said it involved a pot of scalding hot water and the little girl was found unconscious with a skull fracture. A neighbor then called 911.

That matches up with what the Iredell County Sheriff's Office said Monday when they charged the girl's father and stepmother, who were identified as Justin Osborne and Amy Clew, with one count of felony child abuse and three counts of misdemeanor child abuse. Detectives said they saw the burns and there were "other injuries on the child's body that appeared to be from assault."

Other than that, Brotherton said there were two stories and lots of rumors about how Diane Nicole got hurt. The couple, who are in jail Tuesday night, even said the little girl had done it to herself, according to Brotherton. 

As for the girl's biological mother and grandmother, Brotherton said the Department of Social Services took Diane Nicole away from them about a year ago because, she says, financially on paper, it looked better for her to be elsewhere.

"They're not well-to-do and didn't have enough rooms for everyone they're trying to care for in their small two-bedroom mobile home," Brotherton said. "But they're good people. They visited Diane Nicole and love her. They saw bruises on her face when they'd visit and did call a caseworker and tried to get Department of Social Services involved."

Osborne and Clew are charged. Not convicted. No matter the case, I always want to emphasize the difference between alleged crime and absolute fact.

No matter what happened to put this child in the hospital, her mom and grandmother are grateful she's doing better, according to Brotherton. 

WBTV reached out to sources in Iredell County who confirm Diane Nicole is doing better.

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