A mother and father were charged with felony child abuse and neglect after police discovered they were beating and not feeding their children, according to the Sarasota Police Department.
Police arrested Kimberly Haygood, 27, and Anthony Jones, 30, both of Sarasota, after the Department of Children and Families contacted police about a child abuse case, according to a release. Police discovered Haygood and Jones were not feeding their children, a 6-year-old boy and 4-year-old twins, a boy and a girl, who were extremely malnourished and dehydrated.
The 4-year-old boy weighed 22 pounds when he was checked into All Children's Hospital, and the 4-year-old girl only weighed 26 pounds, police said. Doctors told investigators 22 pounds is the average weight of an 11-month-old baby and that the weights of both children are consistent with starvation.
"The sight of the 4-year-old boy took my breath away. My description of him when I saw him was that he looked like a skeleton," said Detective Megan Buck. "His body was skin and bones. He has no hair because of lack of nutrients. He has a skin rash and marks from the lack of nutrients. He is non-verbal and cannot talk."
Investigators also discovered multiple markings and scars consistent with inflicted injury from a belt on two of the children. The 6-year-old told police that when the twins soiled themselves, their father would beat them with a belt.
The mother told police that the twins have "an aversion to food" and have had a liquid diet since they were born prematurely.
Both Haygood and Jones have been charged with a total of five felony counts each: two counts of aggravated child abuse, two counts of child neglect with great bodily harm, and child neglect.
Investigators said in the arrest warrant that the children live with the mother but the father comes over all the time to care for the children.
Haygood is being held on a $50,000 bond with no contact with the victims and no contact with Jones. Jones is being held on a $60,000 bond with no contact with victims or minors. Additional charges for both Haygood and Jones are pending.