The 11-year-old West Palm Beach girl weighed only 45 pounds. She had gnawed her thumb down to the bone.
WEST PALM BEACH — For months, a hungry 11-year-old gnawed her thumb. By January 2019 it had "layers of tissue loss."
Eight months later, the girl had chewed down to the bone, West Palm Beach police records state.
When her caregivers left her at St. Mary’s Medical Center in August, her thumb was so infected that the staff had to partially amputate it, and she had to be on intravenous antibiotics for six weeks, police said. By then the girl, who has a host of physical and developmental disabilities, weighed only 45 pounds.
On Tuesday Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office authorities arrested the girl’s caregivers on child-neglect charges. Marcus Karl Brown, 36, and Felisha Annette Slater, 33, of West Palm Beach were booked into the county jail shortly before 10 a.m. and released Tuesday night on $5,000 surety bonds.
Their relationships to the child, who is quadriplegic, mute and blind, are redacted from police records.
City police say the girl had been the subject of at least a dozen Florida Department of Children and Families investigations ranging from reports of her being inadequately supervised to medically neglected and threatened with violence.
In 2012, state child-welfare workers removed her from her home. However, police records indicate that she returned within months. Records don’t specify whether Brown and Slater were her caregivers at the time, although on other occasions, the state had documented their "utter unwillingness to cooperate" with taking the child to medical appointments.
They refused to speak with police or state welfare workers after dropping off the child at St. Mary’s. In late December, city police signed arrest warrants for Brown and Slater, but authorities didn’t arrest them on those warrants until this week.
Neither Brown nor Slater has a criminal history in Palm Beach County, according to court records.
Police say the girl has been in the care of the Department of Children and Families since August.
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