A Hernando woman is behind bars after deputies said she abused her 17-month-old daughter so badly the girl was hospitalized.
Alyssia Skinner, 22, was arrested Thursday morning after her daughter was taken Monday to All Children's Hospital to be treated for injuries deputies said were the result of severe abuse and neglect.
The child only weighed 14 pounds at 17 months old.
"This baby was on the floor of a very small closet-like room that had no crib, no toys, complete clutter,” said Heather Yates, with the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. "There were bottle laying in the room with maggots in them. There were soiled diapers everywhere. There was an air conditioning unit dedicated to this room and it was on full blast. And there was a radio playing very loud music in the room with the child."
According to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office, deputies were sent to the home on Monday to check on the toddler. When they arrived, they spoke to Skinner, who told them she had never given birth to the girl and that the girl was in the custody of a family member, the report said.
“If she did have head trauma, there’s going to be significant problems in the future, even from simple things like ADHD or anger anxiety, so there’s a lot that could happen to this kid, and unfortunately I’m not sure she’s going to recover to her full potential,” said Dr. Randy Shuck.
Skinner then ran into the home and locked the door to keep the deputies out, the report said.
Deputies said they saw Skinner go into the back room of the mobile home and taking the girl out of a room. She was then seen trying to clean and feed the girl before opening the door and talking to deputies again, the report said.
The girl had visible injuries on her head and face, deputies said, so they called emergency medical services to the scene.
The report indicated that the paramedics said the girl was cold to the touch and appeared to be malnourished. They also saw bright red rashes on the girl's legs and pubic area, the report said.
The girl was taken to Citrus Memorial Hospital, where she was diagnosed with hypothermia. A CT scan found subdural hemorrhaging, and so the girl was flown to All Children's Hospital for further treatment, the report said.
Investigators said that when they were let inside the home, they noticed that the room where the toddler had been confined was much colder than the rest of the home, and that it was extremely cluttered with only a small area of bare carpet where the girl may have been laying down.
The carpet smelled of urine, was wet to the touch and was discolored, investigators said. The room was also littered with several soiled diapers.
Neighbors told investigators that they were unaware there was a baby in the home, the report said. Family members and friends said they had not seen the girl since the end of 2012.
The report also said that a male friend told them that he visited the home a few times a week, and that Skinner almost never took the girl out of the back room. He also told them that he occasionally saw Skinner take bottles of milk to the girl, and that when he did see her, she was lethargic and would not play, interact or laugh, the report said.
The friend also told investigators that a radio was always playing in the room where the girl was confined, and that the air conditioner was always turned on, the report said. He told them the only time Skinner went to the room was when the girl would not stop crying, and that she would stay in the room for several minutes until the crying stopped, investigators said.
On Thursday, medical staff at All Children's Hospital told investigators that the girl was suffering from chronic hypothermia, which they attributed to ongoing exposure to low temperatures. Investigators said they were told the girl's legs cannot be straightened from a curled, fetal position because they had been contracted for an extended periods of time in an attempt to conserve heat.
They also said the girl was so severely malnourished that she suffers from what they call "refeeding syndrome," where the body has been starved for such long periods of time that the body reacts negatively when reintroduced to food, the report said.
Investigators said the medical staff also told them the girl's brain had atrophied and that she suffered injuries that were consistent with shaken baby cases.
"Every child abuse case is awful,” Yates said. “But this one in particular with eight felony counts of what she did to the child. The neglect and abuse this child endured I know that it had an impact on the detectives."
Deputies returned to Skinner's house later that day and arrested her. She has been charged with child neglect, aggravated child abuse with great bodily harm, and torturing and caging a child. She was taken to Citrus County Detention Center where she remains without bond.