Lakeland mother arrested in baby’s scalding death; Serenity Gunter died 15 days before 1st birthday

Serenity Gunter died Nov. 6, just 15 days before her first birthday and 14 days after police say her mother, Pamela Black, immersed her in scalding water at their Lakeland home.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled the first name of Dr. Vera Volnikh of the District 10 Medical Examiner’s Office. It also misidentified her gender. This story has been updated. 

LAKELAND — Lakeland police arrested a 21-year-old woman on charges of aggravated child abuse and aggravated manslaughter of a child.

Serenity Gunter died Nov. 6, just 15 days before her first birthday and 14 days after police say her mother, Pamela Black, immersed her in scalding water at their home at 5115 N. Socrum Loop Road in Lakeland.

Black was arrested Monday and is being held at Polk County Jail without bail.

At the time of the scalding, Black lived at the apartment with her husband, a roommate, her husband’s 2-year-old son, and the baby.

According to Black’s arrest affidavit, the incident occurred about 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 23, but Serenity was not transported to the hospital for nearly 1½ hours after she was severely burned.

She suffered third-degree burns over 60 percent of her body, and staff at Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center ordered she

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