A Florida couple were arrested after authorities discovered a 6-year-old with his head in a toilet bowl, according to police. Other children in the motel room also reportedly suffered injuries.
On July 5, deputies responded to emergency calls that a child was drowning in the toilet at a Knights Inn motel in Kissimmee. Law enforcement reportedly found an unconscious 6-year-old boy with badly swollen eyes who did not have a pulse, according to the Osceola County sheriff’s office.
The boy was rushed to a local hospital, where it was revealed that he suffered from severe brain bleeding. He was placed on life support and was in critical condition.
There were six children ranging from 6 years old to a baby less than a year old in the motel room, WKMG-TV reported. Another child had visible injuries of swollen eyes and blood marks on the mouth, according to law enforcement. A third child allegedly had bruises on the face.
The Osceola County sheriff’s office noted that all of the children involved were taken to the hospital for treatment.
WPLG reported that other guests at the motel room next door informed deputies that they heard a loud "thud" noise coming from the room approximately 15 minutes before police arrived – which they believed was a child falling.
Larry Rhodes, 22, and Bianca Blaise, 25, told deputies that there was a "physical altercation between siblings."
The New York Post reported, "They insisted to police that they never hit their children — but their 4-year-old told investigators that 'daddy hit me.'"
Blaise later told investigators that she and Rhodes were disciplining the children, which included "whuppings" and forcing them to do exercises, records show.
Blaise told deputies that she returned to the motel room that day and found one of the children with his head in the toilet bowl. She said it looked like the boy was drinking water from the toilet bowl. Blaise allegedly told investigators that it wasn't until Rhodes went into the bathroom that she was told to call 911, according to WKMG-TV.
Police searched the motel room and found several swabs of suspected blood and two guns with multiple magazines, according to deputies.
Rhodes and Blaise were arrested. Rhodes and Blaise were charged with six counts of child neglect with great bodily harm, according to police. Rhodes was also charged with battery and aggravated child abuse.
Rhodes is in the Osceola County Jail on $33,000 bond. Blaise was bailed out on Friday.