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N4T Investigators: Trial set to begin in girl’s scalding

TUCSON – A major update now on a story the New 4 Tucson Investigators broke nearly two years ago.

Trial is set to begin Tuesday for a Tucson mother who is accused of severely burning her 5-year-old adopted daughter.

Pima County Sherriff’s deputies arrested Samantha Osteraas one week after her adopted daughter suffered third-degree burns to 80 percent of her body.

The incident happened in December 2016 at a home on Tucson’s northwest side.

At the time, Osteraas told 911 she did not realize she was bathing the child in hot water, but investigators did not believe her.

“We strongly believe that this was not an accident, but more of an intentional act,” said Det. Manuel Rios, with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier told the News 4 Tucson Investigators it was one of the worst child abuse cases he has seen.

“The injuries were so traumatic as to really be shocking to the conscience of even our detectives,” Napier told the News 4 Tucson Investigators in January 2017.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators discovered the little girl was removed from her biological mother at the age of two.

The Arizona Department of Child state then placed her in the care of David Frodsham in Sierra Vista. He ended up being convicted of child sex crimes and was sent to prison.

Osteraas’ trial is expected to last about a week.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators have learned, the little girl now known in court documents only as “M.O.” may end up taking the stand.

The Pima County Attorney’s Office has asked the court to allow a so-called facility dog, a specially trained K-9, to help ease the girl’s stress while she testifies against the woman that she had once called her mom.

The News 4 Tucson Investigators will be in court on Tuesday, as trial gets underway.

If you have something you would like the News 4 Tucson investigators to investigate, email us at investigators@ or call the News 4 Tucson Investigators tip-line at 520-955-4444.

Paul Birmingham

Paul Birmingham is an Investigative Producer for KVOA News 4 Tucson. He is a three time Edward R. Murrow award winner, native Tucsonan, and a proud Arizona Wildcat.

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