Hernando, FL – Twenty-two-year old Alyssia Skinner has been arrested for the abuse and neglect of a 17-month old girl. Skinner has been charged with child neglect, child neglect causing great bodily harm, aggravated child abuse causing great bodily harm, and aggravated child abuse/torture/punish/cage child.
Deputies arrived at the residence last Monday to do a welfare check on the toddler. Skinner refused to allow entry by authorities, initially refuting she even had a child and slamming the door. Skinner was observed attempting to clean and feed the child before reopening the front door.
Reports say the child was cold to the touch and seemed malnourished, weighing only 14 pounds. The average 17-month old weighs nearly twice as much. The condition of the child prompted authorities to seek medical attention for the girl and arrest her mother.
Authorities described the living space the child was confined to as filthy, cluttered, infested, urine-soaked, and extremely cold. An air conditioner was constantly on in the bedroom.
The toddler, identified as “Isabella” by her grandparents Gary and Rhonda Maser, was treated at Citrus Memorial Hospital and later flown to All Children’s Hospital. She required hospitalization for “chronic” hypothermia and refeeding syndrome.
It was later determined the child had spent extensive time in extremely cold temperatures and frequently left unfed. Isabella’s legs were curled in a biological means of preserving body heat, unable to be straightened. MRIs revealed brain injuries, subdural hemorrhaging consistent with “shaken baby.”
Investigators were told by a male visitor Skinner rarely attended to the child, and when the toddler was out of the bedroom, she was often lethargic. Many of the neighbors were unaware a child lived there. Family indicated they’d not seen the toddler since before the end of 2012. Skinner had prevented the father of the child and extended family from visiting.
The Daily Mail reports Skinner allegedly carried out the systematic abuse and torture of the toddler because of Isabella’s resemblance to her biological father and other Maser family members.
Withholding food for long periods of time can cause muscle and brain atrophy, as well as long term developmental damage.
Hypothermia is a condition in which the sufferer’s core body temperature is well below temperatures required for normal metabolic body functions. Moderate to severe hypothermia can cause major systematic organ failure and subsequent death.
Refeeding syndrome was first diagnosed in prisoners of war in World War II. It is a metabolic disturbance affecting those whom have been severely malnourished for multiple days. The dietary phenomenon occurs when a person has endured a prolonged period of starvation then attempts to eat. The act of eating and digesting can precipitate cardiac arrest. The intracellular loss of electrolytes and unbalanced, chronically low levels of insulin are to blame. The life-threatening condition is treated with intravenous phosphates and a calculated reintroduction of proper nutrients in the patient.
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