A child abuse suspect in Florida, who was recently tracked down and arrested in the beating of a 5-year-old boy, is now facing nearly two dozen new charges, and the victim’s mother is facing 25 charges of her own after detectives discovered a brutal pattern of child neglect, abuse and torture in the home.
Additionally, the child’s mother, Taylor B. Schaefer, 28, is facing 25 similar charges after detectives determined she was aware of the abuse, witnessed it, and continually failed to intervene or report it.
“The charges are supported by victim and witness interviews as well as video surveillance footage from inside the home,” said Volusia Sheriff’s Office.
“The footage was seized via search warrant on May 9, the day of Stone’s initial arrest. That day, the children were removed from the home and placed in a safe environment while the investigation continued,” investigators said.
According to deputies, the case began when Schaefer called 911 to report she had a “gut feeling” that her live-in boyfriend, Stone, was abusing the victim, then checked the video footage and confirmed it.
The investigation revealed multiple recordings of the victim receiving beatings while Schaefer was present in the house, as well as several instances where he was visibly injured and limping in her presence, but received no care or medical attention.
On the day Schaefer reported the abuse, the video showed her mopping up the area where the victim was beaten with the mop handle.
Video from the days leading up to that incident showed the 5-year-old victim was not only beaten but repeatedly left with his hands bound behind his back for hours at a time.
In one incident, his hands were bound behind his back from 6:43 p.m. one evening until 2:02 p.m. the following day. On another occasion, his legs, feet, arms, and torso were bound for at least an hour while Stone stood over him.
The cameras also recorded instances of Stone yelling at and kicking the already visibly bruised and injured victim, with Schaefer also entering the picture and telling the victim to stand up straight.
Other footage recorded during beatings indicated that the sounds of the abuse could be heard throughout the house.
Doctors and nurses found 46 visible injuries to the victim in addition to internal injuries including a fractured skull.
Detectives also conducted interviews and recovered text message conversations during the investigation.
“It was discovered that in addition to the abuse recorded on video, the victim was tied up and placed in a dog cage and often punished via deprivation of food. It was also determined that another child in the home was forced to drink boiling water, sprayed with boiling water, and beaten with several household objects. That child also witnessed the brutal abuse inflicted on the younger victim,” said VSO.
Evidence was also obtained that a third child victim in the house was not receiving the proper nutrition or care for a serious medical condition and was also witnessing the constant abuse.
The couple’s charges range from aggravated child abuse, child neglect, false imprisonment, failure to report child abuse, conspiracy to commit those crimes, evidence and witness tampering.
Stone was charged with additional counts Friday afternoon while still in custody without bond at the Volusia County Branch Jail.
Deputies are searching for Schaefer.
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