Two Arkansas parents were arrested after their newborn baby was found with about 100 rodent bites on her body.
Police were called to a medical center in Magnolia, Arkansas, on May 14 because of a child who was reportedly bitten by rats. An ER nurse said that the 15-day-old child, who weighed about 5 pounds, appeared to have been bitten at least 100 times by a rodent on the arms, fingers, face and hands. There was also a 1-inch wide wound on the child’s forehead that exposed the skull.
The parents, 19-year-old Erica Shryock and 18-year-old Charles Elliott, admitted to police that they knew there were rats in the house when they put their baby to bed around 5:30 a.m. but did nothing to address it. Just two hours later, Shryock said she woke up to find her child covered in blood.
Elliott admitted to police that he did not want to take his baby to the hospital out of fear that he would lose custody. His mother, Regina Barton, advised him to take the baby regardless of what happened.
Both parents were arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree, KARK reported.
When police searched the home after the couple’s roommate, Margie Williams, gave consent, they found bloody rat footprints on the bassinet where the baby slept, as well as a bloody baby's hat and blanket. There were also rodent droppings on the bedside table.
Williams told police that she woke up to the baby crying around 5:30 a.m., and said she wasn’t sure why the parents didn’t wake up considering the child was sleeping in the bassinet right next to their bed.
The baby received facial reconstruction surgery to fix the wound on her head.
On May 16, two days after the incident and one day after the surgery, police were informed by a doctor that the baby suffered severe destruction of the skin due to rat feeding. The doctor concluded that such destruction would have taken hours to occur, and that the parents were either not there or incapacitated during that time.
“Lock them up and let rats eat them alive....better yet.. put a rat on their stomachs put a pot over it then put a flamethrower to the pot...torture these filthy animals more filthy then the actual rodents feeding on their newborn!” one PIX 11 reader commented on the site’s Facebook page after the horrifying story went viral.
“Poor, sweet,defenseless, innocent baby. May she receive Gods healing and be restored to perfect health. Unfortunately everything happens for a reason, now this baby will be living a better life without those two. I pray she's blessed with a loving and caring home. What a difficult article to read,” another wrote.
“One look at the woman and I can tell she's strung out on heroin. This epidemic is destroying the young and leaving their babies to die from starvation, abuse, neglect etc. when and how did we get to this place in society?” another added.