Misty Stoddard has been arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse in the death of her 11-year-old step-daughter.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested Stoddard, 36, after her step-daughter, Melissa, died on Monday.
The medical examiner determined that Melissa Stoddard died from hypoxia, which is caused by oxygen deprivation.
Doctors who tried to treat her when she was hospitalized Dec. 12th found that she had severe brain damage, ligature marks and lacerations on several parts of her body.
The victim’s father, Ken Stoddard, was arrested Wednesday.
Ken described how he and Misty “restrained” Melissa, who has autism, and claimed it was to protect her from hurting herself or her siblings.
Other children in the home explained that Melissa was frequently tied up and her mouth was covered with tape to keep her quiet.
A total of five children were taken from the home and are in protective custody with the Department of Children and Families.
Both Stoddards are charged with Aggravated Child Abuse with Great Bodily Harm and are being held without bond.
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