Warning: Story contains disturbing content
Two Arkansas parents were arrested after their newborn baby was bitten by rodents around 100 times and had to undergo facial reconstruction surgery Monday, police said.
Charles Elliott, 18, and Erica Shyrock, 19, each face a charge of endangering the welfare of a minor after the child was rushed to the hospital Sunday, according to television station KARK in Little Rock.
The station reports that an emergency room nurse told investigators that the 15-day-old baby girl suffered bite wounds on her arms, fingers, hands and face. Police told the station that the baby had a one-inch wound on her forehead so deep that her skull was visible.
Police spoke with Elliott’s mother, the child’s grandmother, who said he told her a mouse bit the baby and that he was worried about losing custody. Elliott’s mother allegedly told him he should take the girl to a hospital anyway.
Investigators then spoke with Shyrock, who said she woke up to the baby screaming on Sunday morning and found her covered in blood, according to KARK. Elliott gave a similar statement, adding that when he went to clean up the blood, he saw rat footprints in the crib, authorities said.
Shyrock told investigators that she knew rats were in their home, but that she and Elliott hadn’t done anything to solve the problem, according to police.
When authorities searched the home, they found a bassinet with bloody rat footprints and a baby’s hat and blanket soaked in blood, the station reported.
A doctor at Arkansas Children’s Hospital said the baby girl suffered severe skin deconstruction “from rat feeding,” and that it would have taken hours for the injuries to occur, according to local television station KSLA. The doctor concluded that the parents were either incapacitated or not present when the rodent or rodents continuously bit the girl.
Elliott and Shyrock are being held in the Columbia County jail in Arkansas.