Emery boy severely burned by hot chocolate at Mankato hotel

An 11-year-old Emery, South Dakota, boy is recovering from severe burns after, his mother says, he spilled hot chocolate on himself July 30th. The 6th grader was attending Vikings Training Camp with relatives, staying at the Holiday Inn Express in Mankato.

KSFY News sat down with the boy's mother, Melissa Mentele, who believes the water was way too hot and basically melted off his skin.

As she explains, it was late on a Thursday while she was in Aberdeen, she received a devastating phone call.

"It was my mom calling from the Mayo Clinic saying my son was in the Emergency Room with severe burns. The heart attack moment for any parent. He was almost 5 hours away," Melissa Mentele said. "He spilled hot chocolate on him. He had his cousin had been walking back from dispensing it. The cups were so hot, they had been going back and forth with their hands. The boys bumped arms. Lukus' hit him in the chest," Mentele said .

Doctors said, based on the severity of the blistering burns, the water in the hotel's machine was near 200 degrees. The recommended temperature for hot drinks is 140 degrees.

"The hotel knew he was burned instantly because it was in their lobby area. They were aware he was taken to the Mayo Clinic Emergency Room. My mom filed a report when she was there, repeatedly asked to speak with their GM and was blown off," Mentele said.

After repeated phone calls trying to reach the hotel's management representative Shirley Baker, Melissa finally did.

"She informed us they have no liability insurance. She said we had blown his injuries out of proportion. She physically said she saw him Sunday with no bandages and was just slightly red," she said.

Holiday Inn Express officials say the company is investigating Melissa's report. Melissa's biggest frustration was that she was told the hotel has no proof of liability insurance.

"They have a swimming pool. What if a toddler drowned in their swimming pool? What if it wasn't my son but a toddler that hit the machine, being eye-level, a small child getting burnt directly in the face. They should be proactive and, at the very minimum, service the machine."

Her family will not be suing the hotel or seeking any type of lawsuit, though Lukus will likely need a skin graft. The family is hopeful the hotel will be proactive for the well-being of its guests.

They're still awaiting the hotel's promised insurance information.