On Tuesday, police in Magnolia, Arkansas, arrested two teen parents, Charles Elliott, 18, and Erica Shryock, 19, after they investigated a home and found that the couple’s newborn baby girl had been bitten dozens of times by rats. Bloody rat paw prints and droppings trailed away from the baby’s crib. Police from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office arrested Elliott and Shyrock and charged them with of endangering the welfare of a minor.
ABC News, reported that a doctor said on Sunday, the 15-day-old daughter of the couple was transported to a hospital where she was reportedly discovered by nurses to have suffered anywhere from 75 to 100 rat bites. According to the International Business Times UK, the hospital was the Magnolia Regional Medical Center.
Surgery was required to close up an inch-wide wound on the girl’s forehead. According to Fox News, a doctor at the hospital stated it would have taken the rats hours to do the amount of damage he saw on the Arkansas couple’s baby daughter.
According to court documents, a doctor said that the parents of the baby must not have been present or incapacitated when the rats were biting their daughter. She weighed just 5 pounds when she was admitted to the hospital, and “her skull was exposed.”
An affidavit was published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette detailing the probable cause the police gave which allowed them to conduct a search of the house where the teenagers lived. The affidavit also described what the police found inside the house.
The police found a bloody bassinet in the house. It had a blood-soaked blanket and hat in it. The police also saw bloody rat paw prints and droppings left by rodents by a nightstand.
The teen couple appeared to have been aware their house was infested with rats, but they did not act to have the rodents exterminated. Elliott said he heard the baby screaming at about 5 a.m.
Investigators said that Shyrock told them she was woken up by her baby daughter screaming at around 7:30 a.m. She saw that the baby was bleeding from what looked like numerous bites.
According to a statement by the couple’s roommate, the baby’s bassinet was right next to Shyrock and Elliott’s bed. The roommate said she did not know why it had taken the couple so long to act and protect their daughter.
The Arkansas couple called Elliot’s mother before they took their baby daughter to the hospital, because they were worried that authorities might take their baby away from them when they saw the bites. Authorities said that the baby girl had been bitten on her arms, hands and face. On Monday, the baby had reconstructive surgery done to her face.
The couple is facing a bond of $15,000 and that the charges of endangering the welfare of a minor are expected to be upgraded to a felony. Since 2015, the couple have been dating. They have four children together. All four have been previously taken into custody by DHS, and now, so has their baby daughter. The couple are currently in custody in Arkansas at the Columbia County Detention Center.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Columbia County Sheriff