Negligent teen parents let rats gnaw at their newborn baby's face at least 100 times
Doctors said given the kind of injuries, the infant would have suffered for many hours.
A teen couple in Arkansas pleaded guilty to permitting abuse of a minor after it was found that their newborn daughter had been bitten more than 100 times by rats as they had neglected to care for her in a drug-induced haze.
Ninteen-year-old Erica Shryock and her 18-year old boyfriend Charles Elliott were sentenced to five years, after a plea deal wherein the Class D felony charge of first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor was dropped.
Th case dates back to May 2017 when the couple was living with a friend in a ramshackle house on Cordelia Street in Magnolia.
On May 14, they woke up to find their 15-day-old daughter screaming her head off and covered in blood.
The infant had bite marks all over her arms, fingers, hands, and face. She also had an inch-long gash on her forehead, through which the skull could be seen, and which necessitated a reconstructive surgery.
Doctors said then the infant's wounds would have happened over the course of many hours and that the baby would have been in immense pain during that time.
According to the medic, the teen parents would have been "either incapacitated or absent to not have responded to the baby's distress."
The baby's parents admitted to taking drugs, including crystal meth, marijuana and a street drug called K2, in the days leading up to the attack.
The teenagers, who had been dating since 2015, initially did not want to take the baby to the hospital because they were afraid the infant would be taken away from them.
Investigators saw bloody footprints of rats in the home, found an infant toboggan "soaked in blood" and a blood-soaked blanket.
The baby who was born prematurely at 4lbs has been adopted.
The home, which was infested with rats, was burned down in September 2017 by the Magnolia Fire Department.
The council unanimously voted that the house should be condemned.
According to a report from the court by Arkansas Online, the young mother was dressed in an orange jumpsuit, sitting in the jury box at times and was also seen laughing with a fellow inmate. The father was silent throughout the whole hearing.
The couple will be eligible for parole after 304 days. Since they have already served 293 of those days, it's likely the couple will be released from custody within 30 days, defense attorney Joseph Churchwell said.
Churchwell said that Shryock and Elliott had both been through violent childhoods filled with neglect, physical and sexual abuse before spending time in the foster care system.
He said: "Neither of these kids had a chance. They were homeless teenagers who aged out of the foster system."
Churchwell added: "They should have never been allowed to leave the hospital with the baby when she was born."
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