Erica Shyrock and Charles Elliott are behind bars for what prosecutors say was a horrific case of neglect, with the teenage parents getting high on meth and letting pet rats chew off their newborn baby’s face.
The incident happened in Arkansas, with social workers visiting the family’s home last year and finding the 15-day-old girl’s cot filled with blood, the Metro reported. The newborn was so badly injured that she had to undergo reconstructive surgery on her skull, the report added. Investigators found that the injuries were caused pet rats, which bit the girl’s face and head more than 100 times.
Police said 19-year-old Erica Shyrock and 18-year-old Charles Elliott admitted that they had been using crystal meth and K2 in the days leading up to the horrific attack, the Metro reported. This week, the teenage parents pleaded guilty to the gruesome crime in exchange for a plea deal that will keep them behind bars for five years, Arkansas Online reported.
But they will not have much longer to spend in prison. As Arkansas Online reported, they are eligible for parole after 305 days behind bars and have already served 293 days. Their defense attorney, Joseph Churchwell, said they will likely be released within 30 days.
Though the allegations against Erica Shyrock and Charles Elliott has sparked outrage, there has been some sympathy as the parents themselves have been victims in their own young lives. The Metro reported that the two were both abused as children and ended up in foster care. A defense attorney for the pair said that they should not have been allowed to leave the hospital with their newborn as they were not equipped to be parents, placing blame on child welfare officials for failing to intervene.
The baby was vulnerable at birth, Arkansas Online noted, having been born prematurely and weighing just four pounds at birth. The couple lived in what the report described as the “ramshackle” home of a friend at the time.
Erica Shyrock and Charles Elliott had initially faced up to 20 years in prison for getting high on meth and letting pet rats chew their newborn baby’s face off. The baby has since recovered from the rat attack and has been adopted.