Two days earlier, on Feb. 19, authorities received the frantic call from Carisa Clark. "At this time, she has two black eyes and bruises all over her face and body. Her hair is falling out in clumps."
"The child is not being sent to school because of questions about the severe, constant bruises," according to the report detailing Clark's call. "The bruises disappear as soon as she is removed from the home."
Indeed, three different Florida doctors who tested Jessica at Shands Hospital all were interviewed by police after Jessica's death. They all said they were convinced her bruises stemmed from abuse.
One doctor, Suhag Parikh, stated "it was his conclusion that Jessica had no blood disorder and therefore, the bruising she was experiencing was being inflicted on her."
Another doctor, Richard Lottenberg, told police Jessica's bruises could not have occurred without "sustaining an injury." Lottenberg said he also "was never made aware of any past problems with Jessica including the fact that doctors in Georgia had tested her for having a bleeding disorder with negative results."
One doctor compared the bruises to the effects of "a car accident," records show.
Yet, Barnes, the DCF spokesman, said all the doctors who examined Jessica told Florida welfare investigators that "if the bruises that big were the result of a blow, there would be some sort of additional injury . . . None of the hematomas were consistent with tell-tale signs of instruments that often are used in abuse - hairbrushes, paddles, electric cords and other weapons."
Besides, Jessica herself repeatedly denied that she was being hurt, he said.
Other critical details should have raised red flags:
* In 1992, the then-Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services in Florida had removed two other stepchildren of Richard Nixon's, claiming in court documents that one of them was being physically abused, displaying bruises on her thigh, calf and bottom. She, too, was seen with huge clumps of her hair missing, records show.
Only after Jessica's death did Nixon's ex-wife confirm to police that he beat the other child "on a daily basis due to the fact that she was not potty trained."
The ex-wife said Richard Nixon beat the girl "with a wooden paddle on her buttocks and would also spank her with his hand on her buttocks," according to a police report.
The ex-wife told police that she lied about the beatings "because she didn't want the children taken away from her, and she was afraid of Richard."
* Another former wife told police that Richard hit her daughter from a previous marriage for bed-wetting. The woman said she allowed the little girl to spend as much time as possible with her natural father, "to keep her away from Richard."
* All of Richard Nixon's four ex-wives told police that Richard was "controlling and or violent," records show. One woman said she had been abducted from her job by Richard, then rescued by co-workers.
* And even Sarah Nixon, Jessica's mother, called police Dec. 7, 2001, after, she said, he got drunk in a south Georgia bar and physically battered her.
Court records show Richard Nixon had been diagnosed with a serious mental illness for which he regularly took the psychotropic drug lithium. As police investigated Jessica's death, they learned from witnesses who frequented bars with Richard Nixon that he was often violent and confrontational.