A young couple residing in Magnolia, Arkansas, left their 15-day-old baby girl to be bitten by rats nearly 100 times.

The child had bites on her arms, fingers, forehead, and face. One of the bites was over an inch wide and left her skull exposed. The parents were identified as 19-year-old Erica Shyrock and 18-year-old Charles Elliott.

Arkansas Couple
A set of mugshots of the teenage couple. Image credit: Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

Irresponsible parents exposed their child to rats

Police officials were dispatched to the Magnolia Regional Medical Center at 11:30 a.m. According to the reports, the mother told the cops that she laid her child to sleep at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. Two hours later, the girl woke up screaming, after which Shyrock discovered her body covered in blood and bites. She claims that she and her partner knew about their home being infested with rats, but that they chose to do nothing about it.

In a variation of the events, the father told the police that he and Shyrock were woken up by their child at 5 a.m. and then saw their baby lying in her crib, crying and covered in blood and rat footprints. Elliott stated that they waited for his mother to take the girl to emergencies four hours later. Elliot told his mother that the baby had been “bitten by a mouse.” They did not acknowledge the injury on their daughter’s forehead, which had to be operated upon.

The police interviewed Margie Williams, the couple’s roommate, who claimed to have woken up at 5:30 a.m. to the baby’s cries. She saw the hole in the girls’ forehead and noted that the blood was dry; she also recognized that Shyrock and Elliot were lying asleep right beside the baby girl. Williams allowed police to search the home.

They discovered rat feces and the baby’s bassinet and hat. Both were covered in blood and rat footprints. The bassinet was next to the couple’s bed.

Officials at Arkansas Children’s Hospital determined that the bites occurred throughout an extended period. The only explanation is that the parents either were not home or were incapacitated in such a way that they could not respond to the screams of their child. Doctors found between 75 and 100 bites on her body.

“Detectives told Erica that (the child) would have had to been screaming for a while due to the amount of bites. Erica stated that she knew there were rats in the house, but admitted that neither she or Charles did anything to address the rodent issue,” read a statement issued by deputy prosecuting attorney for Columbia County Ryan Phillips.

The parents were arrested, and charges will be filed against both of them, aiming to have them convicted. The initial charge is endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree. Phillips will be filing charges of permitting abuse of a minor with serious physical injury. Shyrock and Elliott are expected to appear before the court for the first time on Wednesday.

Source: KARK