SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Two people were arrested in Sarasota after a 4-year-old boy was found with a handprint on his face, the sheriff’s office said.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office conducted a welfare check at an undisclosed location and notice the child’s face was red and swollen. It appeared he had recently been slapped or sustained some type of trauma to his face, an affidavit states.
The child was in the care of Shane Samuels and Jennifer Feddema, both 25. When questioned about the child’s injury, they said he had fallen on playground equipment in the backyard. Detectives said their statements were not consistent with the trauma the child had sustained.
The child was subsequently removed from their home, which detectives said was littered with cigarettes butts and trash, and taken to CAC Ft. Myers to be examined. There, officials determined the child’s injury was the result of severe physical child abuse.
When asked about his injuries, the child said he couldn’t tell the truth. When asked how he got the injury, he said: “I don’t want to say anything.” He then told police he fell down and bumped his cheek while playing at home. When asked if he was afraid of someone, the child said he was “scared of the boogeyman” and that he feared the boogeyman was going to get him. The child later told a CPT program director that someone put his hand over his mouth.
A CPT nurse practitioner provided the following description of the child’s injuries:
The patterned bruise on the right side of the child victim’s face is the imprint of the hand or fingers applying direct impact pressure. The force of the impact pressure resulted in highly visible petechiae (pinpoint sized hemmorhages in the skin due to acute rise in venous pressure) to both sides of the child victim’s face, behind both ears as well as the back of his neck. The injury is consistent with the child victim’s statement that someone put his hands over my mouth.”
The child’s foster mother said she witnessed troubling behavior while the child was in her care. She reportedly observed him pick up a doll and scream “I’m going to beat the shit out of you,” before throwing the doll to the floor and saying, “That will teach you to be a good boy.”
Detectives determined Samuels punished the child intentionally and maliciously, therefore committing the offense of aggravated child abuse. According to an arrest affidavit, Feddema was present while the child was being abused, failed to protect him from the abuse and failed to seek medical care for the child, therefore committing the offense of child neglect. She also provided a false statement to detectives.
Samuels is charged with a single count of Aggravated Child Abuse and is being held without bond. Feddema is charged with a single count of Child Neglect and was released Wednesday on $10,000 bond. The investigation is ongoing.
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