Homeowner charged with child neglect in fire that injured 10-month-old

Aliyah Marie (Source: GoFundMe)
Aliyah Marie (Source: GoFundMe)

OLIVE BRANCH, MS (WMC) - A landlord faces criminal charges after a 10-month-old was burned in an Olive Branch house fire.

Olive Branch Police Department arrested Michael Atkins, 61, and charged him with felony child neglect.

Investigators said Atkins owns the home that caught fire.

When the fire sparked, Aliyah Marie was napping inside a structure built in the backyard. The structure had air conditioning and electricity.

Aliyah's family was renting the living space from Atkins.

Family members said a television power cord sparked the fire.

With the building still burning, Aliyah's family ran into the flames, found Aliyah, and pulled her to safety.

"She was limp, unresponsive at the moment, and severely burned," Mary Jane Thiel said.

Thiel is Atkins' daughter. She's also engaged to the baby's father.

The baby is now in Ohio receiving medical treatment for the burns she sustained.

There is a GoFundMe page set up for the family.

Atkins is out of jail on bond. His daughter said she believes he is innocent of the charges he faces.

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