An Arkansas couple is behind bars after their baby, only two weeks old, was taken to the hospital with rat bites all over her body on Sunday.
WSB-TV reports that Erica Shyrock, 19, and Charles Elliott, 18, were arrested after police were called to the Magnolia Regional Medical Center in Magnolia, where a newborn was checked in with a gaping wound on her forehead and blood all over her body.
According to the arrest affidavit, authorities were called to the hospital at around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday after medical professionals found numerous rat bites on the infant’s arms, fingers, hands, and face. An emergency room nurse at the hospital noted that the baby weighed only five pounds at 15 days old. Shyrock told police that she put the baby to sleep in a crib beside her own bed at around 5:30 a.m., but was awakened a few hours later by the baby’s shrieks and screams.
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Shyrock said when she looked in the crib, she saw the infant covered in blood. Elliott told police he noticed bloody footprints on the crib’s sheet. Both admitted that they knew there was a rat problem in their home, and they also admitted that they failed to take care of the issue.
Detectives interviewed Elliott’s mother, Regina Barton, who told them that her son told her that the baby had been “bitten by a mouse,” but they were afraid to seek medical help for fear of losing custody of her. At his mother’s urging, Elliott took the baby to the hospital, but he waited another hour until Barton got to their house before bringing the infant in for medical treatment.
The rat bites were so severe that the baby underwent reconstructive surgery on Monday, to close up the large wound on her forehead. Physicians noted that the injuries were so serious that it would have taken numerous hours to happen. An attending physician stated that the parents were “either incapacitated or absent to not have responded to the baby’s distress.”
Meanwhile, detectives visited the teens’ home and discovered an infant’s blood-soaked hat and blanket, bloody rat foot prints, rat fecal droppings, and a baby blanket covered in blood inside the crib.
Both Shyrock and Elliott are behind bars with no bail at the Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility. They’re both charged with endangering the welfare of a minor. The prosecuting attorney in the case said the pair will also be charged with permitting abuse of a minor with serious physical injury.
The baby is currently healing from her wounds and is expected to survive.
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