Teen Parents Arrested After 15-Day-Old Baby Is Found Covered In Rat Bites

May 18, 2017
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An Arkansas teenage couple were arrested after police say their newborn daughter was found covered in blood and suffering from up to 100 rat bites all over her body. The newborn also had a wound on her head through which her skull was visible.

Erica Shyrock, 19, and her 18-year-old boyfriend, Charles Elliott, were taken into custody in Magnolia on Sunday.  They were charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.

According to an arrest affidavit, the case unfolded at around 11.30am Sunday when police were summoned to Magnolia Regional Medical Center about a baby that had been bitten by rats.

An ER nurse told the responding officers that the baby was 15 days old and weighed just 5lbs.

An examination revealed that the infant had 75 to 100 rat bites all over her body, including on her arms, fingers, hands and face.

The worst injury was that of an inch-wide gash on her forehead that was so deep it exposed a portion of her skull.

Shyrock, who has been dating Elliott since 2015, told police how she put her daughter to sleep at around 5.30am in her bassinet placed next to the parents’ bed and was awakened by her screams two hours later.

When the 19-year-old mom looked in the crib, she said that she found her baby covered in blood. Elliott, who was interviewed separately, also told police he saw bloody rat footprints in the baby’s crib.

 

Both parents said they were aware there their home was infested with rats however they failed to address the problem.

Police also interviewed Elliott’s’ mother, Regina Barton, who revealed to them that her son told her the baby had been bitten by a mouse and that he was afraid to lose custody of her. Barton said that she urged her son to take the injured newborn to the hospital anyway.

Elliott cleaned up some of the blood, where they apparently waited an additional hour and a half for Barton to arrive at their home before seeking medical help for their baby at 9am.

The couple’s roommate, Maggie Williams, later gave police permission to search the home, where they were able to recover the crib with the bloody rodent paw prints, a baby’s blood-soaked hat as well as a baby blanket with blood stains on it and rodent droppings on a cabinet.

Elliott and Shyrock’s daughter had to undergo a reconstructive surgery to close the gaping wound on her forehead.

A doctor at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, where the victim was transferred for treatment, sent police a note saying the child suffered severe skin destruction from rat feeding.

The physician determined that the damage would have taken ‘hours to occur and the baby would have been in distress during that time.’ The doctor also suggested that the parents were ‘either incapacitated or absent to not have responded to the baby’s distress.’

Shyrock and Elliott are both held at Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility without a bond.

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