The Volusia Sheriff’s Office reported on Saturday that a 5-year-old child whose skull was cracked after his mother’s live-in boyfriend struck him with a mop handle, breaking it in two, had been neglected, beaten, and tortured repeatedly.
According to Wesh News, investigators uncovered video surveillance from inside the DeLand, Florida, living, which revealed the boy had his wrists tied behind his back for more than 19 hours. Doctors assessing him found 46 apparent injuries as well as internal injuries, according to Volusia Sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Gant in a press release.
There were three children in the house, including an 8-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy.
“The torture these kids endured is hard to imagine. The good news is they’re in safe hands now, and their scumbag abusers will have to answer for what they did,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood wrote in a Facebook post Saturday.
Shawn M. Stone, 32, has been held in jail since May 9. In addition to one accusation of severe child abuse, he was charged on Friday with 23 additional charges of abuse and neglect.
Stone is charged with eight counts of causing great bodily harm to a child, five counts of aggravated child abuse, four counts of neglect of a child, three counts of failing to report suspected child abuse, two counts of false imprisonment of a child under 13, and two counts of tampering with a witness in a life felony proceeding, according to jail records.
He is being detained without bond.
Taylor B. Schaefer, 28, faces 25 counts after investigators say she regularly witnessed assault and did nothing to stop or report it. Gant stated that officials had yet to locate her.
After the mop handle incident, Schaefer phoned 911, stating she had a “gut feeling” Stone was abusing the victim, then saw the video tape and confirmed it.
Gant claimed that detectives who examined hours of footage concluded that she was there in the residence when the 5-year-old was beaten, and that she observed the kid obviously injured and limping but did not offer medical care.
“On the day that Schaefer did report the abuse, video showed her mopping up the area where the victim was beaten with the mop handle,” Gant said.
The 5-year-old child had been bound for hours at a time. In one case, his hands were tied behind his back at 6:43 p.m. one night and remained bound until 2:02 p.m. the next afternoon.
Gant claimed the victim had also been tied up and kept in a dog cage, and that food deprivation was a common form of punishment for him.
“Another child in the home was forced to drink boiling water, sprayed with boiling water, and beaten with several household objects,” Gant said. “That child also witnessed the brutal abuse inflicted on the younger victim.”
According to Gant, a third kid victim in the home was not receiving sufficient nutrition or care for a major medical condition and witnessed the ongoing abuse.
Gant stated that investigators’ video evidence is supported by text messages and witness interviews.
Gant stated that all three children were removed from the home and placed in a “safe environment” on May 9.
Glen Hobbs, the page’s organizer, has offered periodic updates on the children. All three have been released from the hospital and have started their normal eating habits.
Hobbs said the 5-year-old will require a wheelchair and walker and will have a “long road to recovery.” The eight-year-old daughter is eating well, while the oldest kid “is in good spirits and looks healthy.”
As of late Saturday afternoon, the GoFundMe has raised more than $8,000 of the $20,000 target.