Child set fire to mattress to escape locked room, Florida sheriff says; parents charged
10/06/2020 1:19 pm PDT
PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) -- Two parents were arrested in Spring Hill Monday on child abuse charges after one of their children set fire to a mattress in order to escape the “deplorable” conditions of a bedroom. Pasco County Sheriff's deputies responded to the home in Spring Hill after reports of an arson in progress Monday.
Deputies determined the child was often locked in the bedroom without electricity or natural light. The door was locked from the outside and a board was nailed to the exterior door frame, and the only window in the room was covered with a board screwed into the wall, according to the sheriff's department. Deputies said they found feces on the wall and urine on the floor of the bedroom.
Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said detectives learned that one of the victim's five sisters passed a box of matches under the door that the child then used to light the mattress on fire.
The Pasco Sheriff's Office said Kelley Davis, 36, and Daniel Davis, 37, have six children ranging from infant to 10 years old, but they allegedly kept just one of them locked in a bedroom with no power since at least March. The suspects reportedly admitted to locking the child in the room at night for about 11 or 12 hours, and also when the child misbehaved.
Daniel Davis and Kelley Davis were each charged with one count of aggravated child abuse. All children in the home were taken into protective custody.
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The Tampa Bay Times reports that in February and July, calls were made to 911 from the house but the caller always hung up, Nocco said. Then on Aug. 26, a neighbor contacted the Sheriff's Office because the child had been spotted rummaging through a refrigerator unsupervised in the garage of the home. Deputies didn't note anything suspicious in their visits, even in conversations with the child, Nocco said. The Davises told deputies the child had behavioral issues.
Nocco said the case is still being investigated and further charges were possible.
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