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Step-Mother Arrested in Girl's Death

The 11-year-old, who reportedly had autism, was tied up frequently and her mouth covered with tape, according to other children in the household.

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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Kathy FlorCruz January 01, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Of course, you are correct in saying to not jump to conclusions of why this happened. But what happened is a lot more prevelant than this country wants to admit. It happens all the time, every day, that children are abused & neglected to death. WHY is that though? WHY is there not enough government support for parents of a disabled child who is SO disabled that they are a danger to themselves & others? WHERE is the MONEY that gov. agencies get to help aid parents of disabled family members? Don't try to say there isn't ENOUGH money in this nation to lend support to every family that needs it. Look at how much the medical/pharm industries rake in off patients -regardless of care or lack of it delivered, or the damage it does to patients. Billions...BILLIONS are made by the huge medical industry in this country. And in a country where the statistics of children being diagnosed with one or more "brain disorders" is increasing everytime you hear it, people should STOP accepting these diagnosis & just drugging their children {some as young as toddlers!} & demand to know WHY so MANY of our children are so called "brain damaged/disordered". THEN start looking at the profits these diagnosis' are making for the pharm industries in this country. Look at the LACK of accountability those companies enjoy when making drugs & vaccines that are dangerous are proved harmful to children. THEN-ask the gov. WHY our children are expendable. And why illegal WARS launched are ALWAYS fully funded.

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