A man and woman in Florida were arrested earlier this month after their 3-year-old child was found in “bone-chilling” condition, according to the sheriff’s office.
In a release, deputies said fire crews were called to a report of an unresponsive child on the afternoon of May 12.
Upon arrival, first responders said they found the 3-year-old connected to a ventilator, though the boy didn’t have a pulse. He was taken to the hospital, where he later died despite several life-saving measures, according to law enforcement.
An affidavit shows the boy had numerous injuries, including large tears on his buttocks to the point his colon was visible.
The toddler’s stomach was also bloated, he appeared to be green, and there were open sores on the body “consistent with child neglect,” the affidavit adds.
It was later discovered that the boy had been involved in a near-drowning at a vacation home in Davenport back in 2020, and he had been consequently connected to a ventilator since then, deputies said.
“The child had no brain activity, could not even blink his eyes, could not move his extremities,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference on Wednesday. “And quite frankly, it was recommended to the parents that he be removed from any life-saving measures because the child would forever be in a coma with no brain activity.”
Judd continued, saying that the parents instead chose to keep the boy alive by using a ventilator and stomach tube.
In addition, investigators said they found out the boy had been living with his mother — Takesha Williams, 24 — and her two other children. His father — Efrem Allen, 25 — had been helping Williams with taking care of the boy, though Allen didn’t live at the home, deputies said.
While a home health nurse had been visiting their home since 2020, the parents decided to switch health care companies within the past few months leading to the boy’s death, according to the affidavit.
Instead, the parents reportedly told detectives they knew how to tend to the boy’s medical needs, though they noticed that he had developed large open sores since the prior month, court records state.
However, the affidavit shows that Williams and Allen chose not to contact anyone over the issue due to being afraid of having their children taken by state officials.
Williams and Allen also told investigators that the boy appeared to be alive on the night of May 11, though by the morning of May 12, they noticed that his stomach was bloated and that he appeared cold to the touch, deputies said. They waited until that afternoon to call 911, a release shows.
“This child had an extremely extended stomach, and it was green. This child was rotting in the bed,” Judd said.
According to Judd, doctors at the hospital informed detectives the child hadn’t been receiving appropriate care for months.
Both Williams and Allen were arrested on charges of negligent child abuse causing great harm, though those charges were upgraded on Wednesday to aggravated manslaughter of a child.
“I’ve seen some truly horrific events in my long law enforcement career, but I have never, ever seen anything as sad, as bone-chilling, and as sickening as what this baby suffered before finally perishing from the despicable acts of these two criminals,” Judd said.
Judd added that the other children in Williams’ home appeared to be in good health.
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