Three people were arrested after the death of a 34-month-old girl weighing less than 10 pounds, including the girl’s parents.
His parents, Regis Johnson, 57, and Arhonda Tillman, 35, were arrested Thursday and are being held without bond on child abuse charges, CBS Miami reported. Her uncle, Frank Robinson, 64, who lived in the same house, was also arrested on charges of negligent child abuse and failure to report child abuse, according to the station.
Polk County, Florida, sheriff’s deputies found the boy dead in an inflatable pool used as a playpen on Tuesday, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. The girl’s father had called authorities after finding her “cold to the touch and breathless,” the sheriff’s department said.
The Florida Department of Children and Families investigated the family for medical malpractice beginning in 2019 because the girl had been losing weight and her parents were not following up with her doctor, authorities said, but the investigation was closed when the girl win weight. The girl’s pediatrician told investigators that her last visit was in January 2020 and that the office had tried to follow up with her parents, authorities said.
Both the girl’s father and mother told investigators they had tried to feed the girl. According to the sheriff’s office, Johnson told detectives that the girl hadn’t wanted to eat for the past two days, and that she had only taken a few bites when he tried to feed her. Tillman said in an interview with detectives that he tried to give the girl a turkey sandwich Monday night before bed, but the victim wouldn’t eat, the sheriff’s office said.
Johnson also told detectives that she knew her daughter “was not gaining weight and not developing normally,” and that she “knew the victim was losing weight and not thriving” and still did not seek medical attention, they said. The authorities.
Tillman told detectives there was concern the boy might have had cystic fibrosis. An autopsy carried out on Wednesday showed that there was no food in the girl’s stomach and that she suffered from long-term hunger.
Jail records did not list an attorney for Johnson, Tillman or Robinson, CBS Miami reported.
“This is appalling and should never have happened,” Sheriff Grady Judd said Thursday, noting that there are resources for parents who don’t love their child. “Because of the actions of these parents, this child will never have a chance to grow up.”