ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WALA) - The Escambia County Sheriff's Office said a couple remains behind bars for an incident of child abuse which left a 1-year-old in critical condition.
"It's a one year old child," Sheriff's Office spokesman Mike Ward reacted. "What did that child do to deserve being treated like that? [She did] absolutely nothing."
An infant is clinging to life, and deputies said her mother Demetria Johnson and boyfriend Jeffrey Simmons are the ones responsible.
According to the arrest report, Simmons grabbed the infant by the neck, picked her up, and slammed her down.
"It does appear that somehow the child was thrown against something- whether it be the bed or whatever else- to sustain the type of injuries that the child has," Ward said. "This is a case of aggravated child abuse. Somebody did some great harm to this child."
Ward said the little girl sustained severe bruising around her neck, cheekbones and collar bone.
Simmons and Johnson were questioned at the hospital, then arrested. They remain behind bars; Simmons is being held without bond.
His girlfriend has two other kids, ages 3 and 7, who ECSO said were present during the incident.
Srant Drive resident Lauren Miller lives just across the street from where the alleged incident took place.
"This is an innocent life, an innocent child, who didn't have to go through what it did," Miller said.
Miller said she has always been close with children. She currently volunteers with them on Sundays, and has 10 years of babysitting experience.
So for her, an incident like this hits close to home.
"I take care of mainly 2 and 3-year-old children, and just the innocence and the purity of these little lives that don't have to go through things like that. It's shocking and it's pretty heart-breaking to hear that," Miller said.
Deputies believe Johnson witnessed the act and did nothing, so she faces the same child abuse charges as Simmons.
They'll appear before a judge on March 21.
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