Crime

Woman accused of abusing her ‘ugly’ baby

India Turner
India Turner

A Florida woman is facing aggravated child abuse and other charges after authorities say she held her baby boy by his neck while driving.

India Turner is charged with aggravated child abuse with great bodily harm, aggravated battery, aggravated assault and leaving scene the scene of a crash. The Palmetto woman was held at the Manatee County jail on bonds totaling $65,000.

Turner was initially arrested May 25 and charged with aggravated battery. On Thursday, the State Attorney’s Office formally filed a case against her, adding the other charges.

A year-long Miami Herald investigation found that, in the last six years, 477 Florida children have died of abuse or neglect after their families had come to the attention of the Department of Children and Families.

Turner briefly appeared before Circuit Judge Deno Economou via video conference Friday afternoon for a first appearance during which he appointed the Public Defender’s Office to represent her.

About noon May 10, a 43-year-old woman reported to deputies with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office she had been driving southbound on First Street in Bradenton when Turner pulled up next to her, threw bottles at her car and then rammed into her vehicle, according to an incident report.

The victim told investigators when she saw Turner pull alongside her on the left while driving, she noticed the front-passenger window was rolled down and her baby boy was on the seat unrestrained, according to Turner’s arrest report.

Turner then picked the baby boy up by his neck and began to taunt the victim by saying, “You gonna get this baby,” “It’s all about this ugly (expletive),” and “he looks just like your husband,” the victim reportedly told investigators. The victim then watched as Turner threw the baby boy toward the open window and he let out a “horrible scream and cried out” when he hit the door or floor board.

Then Turner rammed her car into the left rear of the victim’s car, according to reports.

When deputies tracked the tag of the suspected vehicle to Turner’s home, she became agitated while the deputy was trying to document the crash and eventually got into her car and left. Before additional deputies arrived, her husband also fled.

Later the same day, Turner took the baby to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg because she claimed she could not pick the boy up without him crying. When she didn’t provide the hospital with any cause, staff called the state child-abuse hotline.

The following day, Turner was with the boy and her girlfriend when a detective came to interview her. The detective reported Turner said the baby’s injuries must have occurred while he was at her sister’s house. After the detective left, Turner told a child protective investigator she had gotten a call about the baby being in a car accident.

Turner’s sister later told investigators Turner called her May 10 and said, “You need to tell CPS this happened at your house,” the arrest report states.

Turner’s sister and sister’s boyfriend told detectives May 23 she had not just dropped off the baby as she claimed. Instead, Turner’s sister said she got a call from another family member to say Turner had been in a trap house with her girlfriend and the baby when it was raided by law enforcement.

The sister then drove to the house and convinced Turner to come to her house with the baby. When Turner picked up the baby the following day, her sister told detectives he was happily playing, laughing and there didn’t appear to be anything wrong.

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