Sheriff's Office: Father Regularly 'Hog Tied' Daughter, Who Later Died
Melissa Stoddard, 11, was brain dead after she was strapped and restrained inside her bedroom by her parents, according to investigators.
Update: Misty Stoddard has also been charged with aggravated child abuse in this case. For more on this story read: http://patch.com/A-05Xm
Original: A Sarasota father is facing an aggravated child abuse charge, after the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office found that his daughter died after severe abuse, including being "hog tied."
Kenneth Stoddard, 35, of 9021 Delft Road, was arrested by the Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, and for now faces the aggravated child abuse charge, according to the Sheriff's Office. More charges may be filed, in connection to his daughter's suspicious death.
Sarasota County EMS was called to the Stoddard home at 10 p.m., Dec. 12, when 11-year-old Melissa Stoddard stopped breathing, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Melissa was transported to Doctors Hospital and then transferred to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, where doctors discovered Melissa had severe brain damage and was classified as brain dead, according to the Sheriff's Office, and she passed away Monday.
The medical examiner determined that Melissa died from hypoxia, which is caused by the deprivation of adequate oxygen supply. She also had ligature marks on her upper arms, wrists, ankles and thigh area, according to the sheriff's office.
The Department of Children and Families has taken custody of five other children who also lived in the home, some of whom described how the parents “restrained” Melissa, according to the Sheriff's Office, and would spank her with belts.
Both Kenneth and his wife, Misty Stoddard, both "admitted to binding the victim because of her behavioral issues," according to the affidavit.
Melissa was regularly “hog tied,” tied to a board on her bed with duct tape covering her mouth, or tied up and put in a filthy family pool, according to the Sheriff's Office, or left outside on her own while tied up.
Ken Stoddard told the Sheriff's Office that Melissa was tied up "to protect Melissa from hurting herself or her siblings," according to the affidavit.
Misty told Children and Families investigators and St. Petersburg Police officers that she went to check on Melissa in her bedroom and found her daughter unresponsive, but "believed she was 'faking' so she left her alone for 5 minutes," according to the affidavit. After that five minutes passed, she checked on Melissa again and called for Ken, according to the affidavit.
When the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office attempted to speak to Misty she would not talk without an attorney, according to the affidavit.
The 15-year-old in the family, the oldest, told investigators that before the ambulance arrived, he helped his mom get a board out of Melissa's room that was used to help tie her down and brought his mom scissors to cut Melissa from the board, according to the affidavit.
The teen said Ken Stoddard discussed with him about moving the board and concealing it in the woods across the street from the home, according to the affidavit.
During the search of the home, investigators found two restraint platforms, numerous rolls of silver duct tape, a roll of blue tape, a helmet with restraint straps tied to it, strips of black strapping and clumps of used ductape in rooms and the outside area described as a "time out," according to the affidavit.
The Sheriff's Office considers the investigation active and additional charges will be pressed, according to the sheriff's office.