A six-year-old child suffered serious burns on 25 percent of her body after her mother poured accelerant on her as part of a Haitian voodoo practice called “Loa,” the Queens D.A. alleges. The child’s grandmother and a friend looked on but did not intervene.
In early February, Frantzcia Saintil was admitted to the hospital by a relative after suffering severe burns. The mother, Marie Lauradin, told investigators that she was cooking rice when the child hit her from behind. She said she accidentally spilled the pot of boiling water on the girl.
The child told foster care parents a different story. She said her mother poured an accelerant on her head, and in a circle on the floor. She then allegedly set the circle on fire and placed Frantzcia, who was naked, inside the ring of fire, at which point the accelerant on her body ignited and flames engulfed her.
Though the girl cried for help and was severely injured, the mother poured cold water on her and put her to bed.
Lauradin is charged with first-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child and the grandmother is charged with first-degree reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, Lauradin faces up to 25 years in prison and the grandmother faces up to seven years in prison.
According to religioustolerance.org, Loa “resemble Christian Saints, in that they were once people who led exceptional lives, and are usually given a single responsibility or special attribute.”