A Florida sheriff has described it as the most horrific case he has ever encountered. A couple stands accused of allowing their comatose 3-year-old child to suffer in unimaginable conditions, leading to his death. Authorities discovered the lifeless body of the toddler with shocking wounds, including a missing rectum and a hole exposing the intestines, spinal column, and colon.
Takesha Williams, aged 24, and Efrem Allen Jr., aged 25, have been arrested and charged with negligent child abuse causing significant harm, resulting in the death of the toddler. The charges were subsequently elevated to aggravated manslaughter of a child.
The child, whose identity has not been disclosed, was found on May 12 after a 911 call from the mother reporting issues with the child’s pulse oximeter. When Bartow Fire Rescue arrived, they discovered the child with no pulse, connected to a ventilator. The toddler had been under home care since a near-drowning incident in the summer of 2020 at a vacation home in Davenport, Florida.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd expressed his shock and disgust during a press conference following the arrests, stating, “They let this baby rot and die in its bed… I have seen thousands of children abused, and hundreds of children murdered at the hands of parents. I have never seen the horror that we saw with this poor child at the hands of these two folks.”
According to Sheriff Judd, the tragic series of events began in July 2020 when the child, then only 10 months old, nearly drowned in a pool. Despite initial life-saving efforts, the child arrived at the hospital with no brain activity. Doctors advised the parents to discontinue life-saving measures, as the child would remain in a coma without any brain activity.
Refusing to follow the medical advice, the parents brought the child home with a ventilator, and stomach tube, and received home healthcare three times a week for over two years.
However, the parents started rejecting assistance for the child in October, and home health care professionals last interacted with the child during that period. When authorities attempted to visit the apartment, the parents would not answer the door and even told the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), “Don’t wake the child up today.”
The tragic discovery occurred on the morning of May 12 when Williams and Allen noticed the child was cold to the touch, had a bloated stomach, and the pulse oximeter was malfunctioning. Instead of immediately calling emergency services, Williams delayed the call until 3 p.m., stating that it was not an emergency but requested firefighters to check on the child.
Paramedics arrived to find the child connected to a functioning ventilator but showed no signs of life. Sheriff Judd expressed the harrowing reality, saying, “This child was rotting in the bed.” The toddler was rushed to the hospital but succumbed to his condition. Medical personnel discovered ulcers, gaping wounds, and the absence of a rectum. The child exhibited signs of severe neglect, including sepsis, bilateral pneumonia, and advanced stage five ulcers.
The couple allegedly feared alerting authorities due to concerns that the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) would remove their two other young children. These siblings, aged 2 years and 10 months, appeared healthy and have been placed under protective care.
Williams and Allen are currently in custody at the Polk County Jail, with each facing a $100,000 bond. The sheriff expressed his determination to ensure they face a significant prison sentence, allowing justice to be served for the heinous neglect inflicted upon the child.