Alyssia Skinner, 23, will spend the next 17 years in prison after being convicted of child abuse. Skinner subjected her 17-month-old daughter, Isabella, to horrendous treatment prior to her arrest.
Authorities discovered Skinner’s abuse after coming to check on the health of her daughter. When Citrus County, Fla. deputies arrived at Skinner’s home, she tried to hide her identity and claimed she didn't have a child. Authorities found Isabella anyway, and were shocked at the infant’s condition.
According to investigators, Skinner left her daughter in a cold room for long periods at a time and denied her food and nutrition. Isabella now has brain damage resembling shaken baby syndrome. She also has re-feeding syndrome, which occurs when the body has been starved for long periods of time and reacts negatively when re-introduced to food.
Isabella's muscles and tendons fused in the fetal position as she tried to conserve body heat for days at a time in the cold. The room Isabella was locked in was covered in urine and feces. Baby bottles were found on the floor with maggots crawling inside.
The child’s grandmother went into detail about Isabella’s heartbreaking condition.
"Isabella has no skin on her bottom or her thighs from laying in her own human waste,” Rhonda Maser said. “She has a hole in her face. We are not even sure what that is from. Her brain has shifted to one side of her head.”
Isabella is currently being treated at All Children’s Hospital for her injuries. Doctors say that although her condition is improving, she will likely suffer from permanent physical and mental disabilities.
Judge Richard Howard had stern words for Skinner at her sentencing hearing last week.
"You've been sliding through life just like you're sliding through this hearing, just keeping your eyes down, not wanting any interaction just waiting for it to be over," Howard said. "Feed me, house me, keep me from being hurt, and that's where you are going to be for the next long time in the state prison system."
Deputy Nick Hesse first found Isabella in Skinner’s home. He testified in court prior to Skinner’s sentencing.
"This was not, you know, ‘I am having a hard time taking care of my child,’” he said. “This was, I don't want to be a mother. I'm just going to put this problem out of sight, out of mind and carry on living my life."