GALVESTON — A woman blames the devil and not her husband for severely burning their infant daughter after the 2-month-old was put in a microwave, a Houston television station reported.
Eva Marie Mauldin said Satan compelled her 19-year-old husband, Joshua Royce Mauldin, to microwave their daughter May 10 because the devil disapproved of Joshua's efforts to become a preacher.
"Satan saw my husband as a threat. Satan attacked him because he saw (Joshua) as a threat," Eva Mauldin told Houston television station KHOU-TV.
A Galveston County grand jury indicted Joshua Mauldin last week on child injury charges after hearing evidence that he placed his daughter in a motel microwave for 10 to 20 seconds.
The infant, Ana Marie, remains hospitalized. She suffered burns on the left side of her face and to her left hand, police said.
Eva Marie Mauldin, the girl's 20-year-old mother, told the television station that her husband is "not the monster people are making him out to be."
"That was not my husband; my husband is a wonderful father," she said. "Satan was working through his weaknesses."
Eva Maudlin described those weaknesses as an undisclosed mental disability, and that her efforts to get help for him have failed.
Police said Joshua Mauldin told them he put Ana Marie in the microwave because he was under stress. The family had arrived in Galveston the day before.
Eva Maudlin, who met her husband in an Arkansas church, denied those claims by police.
"He would never do anything to hurt her. He loves her," she said. "When she cries he is the one who comforts her. When she is sick, he is the one that takes her to the doctor."
Joshua Mauldin, of Warren, Ark., came to Galveston with his wife and mother because he was called to be a preacher, his wife said. While Joshua Mauldin's mother has returned to Arkansas, Eva Mauldin remains in Galveston.
She is hoping to be reunited with her daughter, but Child Protective Services is working to have her and Joshua Mauldin's parental rights severed. A custody hearing for the infant is scheduled for later this week in a Galveston district court.
Joshua Mauldin faces a charge of injury to a child causing serious bodily harm, which carries a possible prison term of five to 99 years, as well as a fine of up to $10,000.
Eva Mauldin has set up a MySpace page, "Joshua Mauldin is not a Monster," in hopes of defending her husband and making pleas for people to help her.