A family in Florida is facing child abuse charges after an 8-year-old girl told police her foster mother and brother were responsible for the extensive scarring and wounds on her body.
NBC Miami reports that police were called to a Fort Lauderdale home on May 16 and found the girl with bruises, scabs, and scars covering her body. The girl reportedly told police that her foster mother, 57-year-old Turella Forman, and Turella’s son Rashad Forman, 27, had whipped and beat her on multiple occasions, including just a few days before, when they allegedly beat her with a jump rope and a cord from a phone charger.
The mother and son have since been charged with aggravated child abuse while a third suspect, 56-year-old Duane Fletcher, has been charged with neglecting a child with great bodily harm. In a Sun Sentinel report, Fletcher is identified as the girl’s caretaker and Rashad Forman’s father.
According to an arrest report obtained by the news station, the girl told police that Turella and Rashad would tell her to stuff a rag in her mouth ahead of beatings, which she said were punishment for something having to do with school.
“‘Just get your rag’,” the suspects would allegedly say to let her know a beating was coming, “so nobody could hear me,” the girl told police, according to the Sun Sentinel.
She claimed that Fletcher watched the beatings but did not intervene – and one on occasion laughed as she was being beaten.
“He didn’t save me,” the girl told reportedly told police.
Turella Forman reportedly denied ever hitting the girl in an interview with police, while Rashad Forman said that he had hit the girl with a belt but never a jump rope. According to the Sun Sentinel, Fletcher was present during an earlier police interview with the girl and interrupted repeatedly — during that interview, the girl also reportedly denied she had been abused, but told police later that her caretakers were in fact abusing her.
The Sun Sentinel reports describes severe injuries to the alleged victim that suggest repetitive injuries. A medical examination found that the back of the girl’s thighs had no areas that were not damaged by injuries or scarring, and the number of marks she had on her body were “uncountable.”
The girl has since been removed from the home and put into a foster care service, according to NBC Miami.
Turella Forman and her son have since been released from jail on $75,000 bond, and have been ordered to keep a distance of at least 1,000 feet from the girl. Fletcher reportedly remains in custody on $50,000 bond.