OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. (TCD) -- A 22-year-old man and his 25-year-old girlfriend were charged with murder and several other criminal counts this week about a month after their 6-year-old son was found dead in a hotel room with his head in a toilet.
On July 5, Osceola County deputies received a 911 call from a woman saying her son had drowned after drinking water from the toilet. A deputy arrived at the scene and performed CPR on the boy until EMS arrived. He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was placed on life support and later died.
Lopez said investigators learned the boy wasn’t breathing because his parents beat him for drinking water out of the toilet.
According to Lopez, "First the mother beat him, then the father started repeatedly punching the boy with a closed first. He punched him multiple times to the head, to the stomach area. It was determined that he suffered a brain bleed and lacerated liver."
His cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head and liver.
The family of eight reportedly lived in one hotel room. The boy who died was the oldest and had five younger siblings, ranging in age from 10 months to 5 years old.
Though deputies went to the hotel to help the boy, Lopez said it "became clear the other children on scene were also the victims of child abuse."
He shared details and images of the other abuse, including a shoe covered in blood that was allegedly used to hit the children. All five children reportedly suffered injuries to several parts of their bodies, including their head, temple, abdomen, and mouth.
WKMG-TV identified the parents as Larry Rhodes and Bianca Blaise. They were arrested in July on child neglect charges, but are now facing additional charges of murder, aggravated manslaughter, aggravated child abuse, and five counts of child neglect.