POLK COUNTY, Florida– In a distressing case described by a Florida sheriff as the most severe he has encountered, a couple is alleged to have allowed their comatose 3-year-old boy to remain neglected in his bed.
Authorities discovered the child’s lifeless body, which exhibited ulcerous wounds, a lack of a rectum, and a visible opening exposing the intestines, spinal column, and colon.
The details of the case are deeply disturbing and have prompted significant concern and investigation.
Takesha Williams, 24, and Efrem Allen, Jr., 25, have been arrested and booked into jail on charges of negligent child abuse causing great harm, which led to the death of a 3-year-old toddler.
The officials have since upgraded the charges to aggravated manslaughter of a child. The legal actions reflect the seriousness of the alleged crimes committed by the individuals.
On May 12, a baby whose identity has not been disclosed was discovered unresponsive and connected to a ventilator when Bartow Fire Rescue responded to a 911 call from the mother.
The mother reported that the child’s pulsometer was malfunctioning. Authorities revealed that the baby had been receiving home care since a near-drowning incident that occurred in the summer of 2020 at a vacation home in Davenport, Florida.
The child’s medical history and circumstances surrounding the incident add further context to the tragic situation.
“They let this baby rot and die in its bed,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news conference following the arrests. “I’ve done this for five decades. I have seen thousands of children abused, hundreds of children murdered at the hands of parents. I have never seen the horror that we saw with this poor child at the hands of these two folks.”
According to Sheriff Judd, the series of events began in July 2020 when the 10-month-old baby boy had a near-drowning incident at a short-term rental home.
Despite extensive life-saving efforts, the child arrived at the hospital with no brain activity and was unable to blink. Medical professionals advised the parents that the child would remain in a permanent coma with no brain activity.
As a result, they recommended the withdrawal of life-saving measures. This background sheds light on the initial circumstances and medical condition of the child, which subsequently led to the tragic situation.
Despite the doctors’ recommendation to remove life-saving measures, the parents chose to take their infant home with the assistance of a ventilator, stomach tube, and home health care services three times a week.
This arrangement lasted for over two years. However, in October, the parents began refusing further assistance for their child, and it was the last time home health care providers attended to the child, as mentioned by the sheriff.
This refusal of ongoing support marked a significant change in the parents’ approach to caring for their child.
When health care workers knocked, “they would not be home, would not answer the door,” Judd said. DCF told authorities when they went to the apartment to see the child, the parents said, “Don’t wake the child up today.”
Sheriff Judd stated that the mother had been receiving benefits to stay at home and provide care for her baby. However, he suggested that the suspects grew tired of the intensive care required for the child.
This statement indicates a possible motive or underlying reason for the neglect and abandonment of the child’s care.
“I suggest to you, and this is only supposition on my part, they just got tired of the baby,” Judd said.
The grim discovery was made the morning of May 12 when Williams and Allen noticed he was cold to the touch, his stomach was bloated, and the pulse oximeter was malfunctioning, officials said.
Williams waited until 3 p.m. to call 911, saying, “This is really not an emergency. You don’t need red lights and sirens, but we’d like fire to come over and check the baby,” the sheriff said.
When paramedics arrived, they saw the child hooked up to a working ventilator.
“But there appeared to be no life in the child,” Judd said. “This child was rotting in the bed.”
Upon arriving at the hospital, the baby sadly passed away. Medical personnel discovered extensive ulcers and deep wounds throughout the child’s body, reaching down to the muscle.
The child emitted a decomposing odor, and upon further examination, it was revealed that the child had no rectum. Instead, there was a large open hole where the intestines and spinal column were visible.
The child also suffered from sepsis, bilateral pneumonia, and stage five ulcers, as confirmed by the medical examiner.
According to authorities, Williams and Allen were aware of the child’s severe open sores but did not seek medical assistance due to their fear that the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) would remove their other two children from their care.
The other children, aged 2 years and 10 months, were deemed healthy and subsequently taken into protective custody.
Law enforcement’s objective is to ensure that Williams and Allen receive a significant prison sentence for their actions. They are currently held at the Polk County Jail with a bond set at $100,000 for each of them.
Sheriff Judd emphasized that after justice is served, he believes it is ultimately in God’s hands to provide the ultimate judgment.