Police say a Florida couple was charged with felony murder for allegedly severely torturing their special needs child in a “bone chilling” child abuse case.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Bartow Fire Rescue crews received a call at 3 p.m. on May 12 from 24-year-old Takesha Williams. The young mother told phone operators that her child’s pulse oximeter was not working properly, but that it was not an emergency.
However, when emergency responders arrived, they said they found a 3-year-old child on a ventilator breathing machine without a pulse. Police said the child was taken to the district hospital where he died.
The affidavit states that detectives observed that the 3-year-old boy had serious injuries including a severely distended abdomen that was “semi-marbled and green in color.”
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They said the child had multiple open sores and multiple abrasions on her back, consistent with bed sores, and that she smelled of decomposition.
“This kid was rotting in bed,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference.
“This kid was rotting in bed.”
According to detectives, the child abuse began several years ago after the child was the victim of a drowning incident in the summer of 2020 at a vacation home in Davenport, Florida. Since then, detectives say the child has been connected to a ventilator since the near-drowning incident.
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Police said a pro bono home health nurse was assisting the child, but changed companies about two months ago and has not returned to the home.
At the press conference, Sheriff Judd said the parents, Williams and 25-year-old Ephraim Allen, Jr., began declining care last October when police interviewed the home health company. Sheriff Judd said the couple would not answer the door or be at home when the nurse arrived.
A home health company nurse told police that both parents were taught how to remove and clean their young son’s placenta.
When interviewed by police, Williams and Allen told investigators that they noticed their son’s abdomen was distended and was cold to the touch.
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Police said Williams waited hours before calling 911, despite knowing his pulse oximeter was malfunctioning, police said.
“They just got tired of him,” Judd said. “They were exhausted from the intensive care that this child needed and as a result, this child lay there and suffered and suffered and suffered until there was no life left.”
The medical examiner said the child had sepsis, pneumonia and a stage 5 ulcer.
The couple was arrested on May 13 for negligent child abuse causing great harm and those charges were upgraded to aggravated murder on May 26.
“I have never, ever seen anything as sad, bone-chilling, and sickening as this kid.”
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“I have seen some truly horrific incidents in my long law enforcement career, but I have never, ever seen anything quite as sad, bone-chilling, and sickening as the despicable actions of these two This kid had to suffer. Criminal,” Sheriff Judd said.