PENSACOLA, Fla. (WALA) - A Pensacola woman is sitting in jail for allegedly beating four children severely with a belt.
Nicole Henderson, 27, was arrested on Friday and charged with child abuse.
Pensacola police said four children lived in a home on Reus Street lived who were victims of child abuse.
Family members said over the past few weeks, Henderson was looking after her brother Demarcus Hixon's three children.
Sadly, last week, Hixon's 3-year-old son died after choking on a hot dog, but authorities said his autopsy showed abuse unrelated to his death. According to reports, he had been disciplined severely by either a belt or a cord, and injuries were found throughout his body.
Investigators said the injuries were at various points of healing and were consistent with him being whipped.
Police said the boy had injuries on his abdomen, legs, arms, chest, and back in addition to recent injuries on his backside that appeared to be friction type burns on both buttocks.
Vivian Purifoy, Henderson's sister said, "I've never seen her whip the kids while I was around, so I don't know."
She said Henderson is a loving mother of two, and she cared deeply for her brother's children as well.
"She's a good parent. She wouldn't hurt no kids," said Purifoy. "Every time I came there wasn't nothing wrong. When I came last Sunday, when my sister had a cookout, we was havin' a good time. They was eating hot dogs then."
Police said three of the other four children living at the home had similar injuries to the 3-year-old who died.
Purifoy pointed out the autopsy showed the 3-year-old's injuries were at various states of healing, so chances are that Henderson was not responsible for all those wounds.
Police also said Henderson may not have been the only person behind these injuries and more arrests could be made.
In the meantime, the state has removed the other four children from the home. And Purifoy said she is going to get them back.
"I don't have any kids. Her kids are like my kids," she said.
An Escambia County Medical Examiner told FOX10 News the 3-year-old's final cause of death is pending because further studies must be done.
Henderson remains behind bars, she has been charged with four counts of aggravated child abuse and she's in the Escambia county jail on $100,000 bond.
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