Two Arkansas parents were arrested after their 15-day-old baby was taken to the hospital after being attacked by rats. However, what makes this case disturbing and appalling is that the child was bitten over 100 times. The young parents allegedly knew there was a rat infestation in their home and admitted to doing nothing to solve the problem. They also reportedly delayed in getting their baby medical treatment because they feared the newborn would be taken away.
Erica Shryock, 19, and Charles Elliot, 18, face charges of first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor. According to People magazine, bail amounts were not specified. More recently, it was revealed that their bond was set at $15,000.
The Magnolia Reporter issued an update on this case. Ryan Phillips, the deputy prosecuting attorney for Columbia County, said the charges are being upgraded. They now face a Class B felony charges of permitting abuse of a minor with serious physical injury.
Investigators explained the horrific case. In Mongolia, law enforcement officers were called to a hospital after being told a 15-day-old baby had over 100 rat bites. The injuries were so severe that the skull was visible through an open wound on the forehead. The child also had to undergo facial reconstruction surgery. The 5-pound baby was bitten on the face, arms, and hands. The gender of the child was not released to the public in the original report. However, it is now known that Shryock and Elliot’s baby is a girl.
When Shryock and Elliot were questioned, they admitted to being aware that their home was infested with rats. However, Erica and Charles did nothing to take care of the rodents. People magazine reported that the 19-year-old mother claimed that her baby crying woke her up at 5:30 a.m on Sunday morning. When she entered the room to feed the child, she found the newborn covered in blood.
However, the Magnolia Reporter wrote that something different happened. The website stated that the mother put her child in a bassinet at 5:30 a.m. Sleeping in the same room, the updated report says that the mother woke up to her baby screaming at 7:30 a.m.
“Detectives told Erica that (the child) would had to have been screaming for a while due to the amount of bites. Erica stated that she knew there were rats in the house, but admitted that neither she or Charles did anything to address the rodent issue.”
The 18-year-old father told authorities that he heard the baby crying earlier. He found bloody rat footprints in the baby’s crib. He got a rag and tried to clean up the blood, which was “everywhere.” Elliot stated that they waited before getting the baby medical treatment because they worried about the child being taken away.
— MagnoliaReporter (@Magnolia_Report) May 16, 2017
In a statement, doctors told police that it is likely that the rodents were “feeding” on the baby for several hours. When visiting the home, police found bloody rat footprints and rodent droppings. Arkansas Children’s Hospital gave police a statement on the child’s injuries.
“… severe skin destruction from rat feedings, and states that it would have taken hours to occur and (the patient) would have been in distress during this process. (The doctor) expressed her opinion and said that the caregivers were either absent or incapacitated to not have responded.”
If convicted on the upgraded charges, Erica Shryock and Charles Elliot could receive up to 20 years in prison. There is also the possibility of a fine of up to $15,000.
[Featured Image by Julie Jacobson/AP Images]