A Thorndike woman accused of burning her son’s hand to teach him a lesson has died, ending the prosecution.

Michelle Dunworth, 30, died of natural causes on May 11 — Mother’s Day — according to Waldo County District Attorney Geoffery Rushlau.

She was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and domestic violence assault for allegedly punishing her 6-year-old son by placing his hand on a hot wood stove.

“When the defendant is deceased, the case gets dismissed,” said Rushlau.

Dunworth was arrested Jan. 21 after a teacher at Mount View Elementary School saw a burn on the boy’s hand and notified the Waldo County Sheriff’s Department and Department of Health and Human Services. According to court records, Dunworth had intentionally placed the boy’s hand on the stove “so he would know what it feels like” after he mistakenly pushed his sister into the stove.

The case was scheduled to go to trial while the boy and two other children, a 7-year-old girl and 8-year-old boy, remained in Dunworth’s custody.

Rushlau said Tuesday that he was unsure whose custody the children were in.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368 | [email protected]

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