The parents of a severely malnourished North Miami Beach boy who was found badly beaten and naked in the middle of a street were behind bars Monday on charges of aggravated abuse and neglect of a child.
Marsee Strong, 34, and Edward Bernard Bailey, 40, were both arrested after their 9-year-old boy was found in the middle of the road by members of the community Saturday evening, according to a North Miami Beach Police report released Monday.
Police said the boy, one of six children living in the home, had jumped from the rear window of his at 1417 NE 152nd Street house to escape his abusers, his parents, when he was found by residents.
"The victim appeared to be extremely abused with permanent marks of abuse all over his body," the report said, adding that he was severely malnourished and has the body of a "much younger child."
The boy was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital North, where it was discovered he weighed a mere 35 pounds, about the size of a normal 2-year-old, the report said.
Hospital staffers noted the boy's hands and feet were swollen from lack of food, and he said he hadn't eaten in approximately three days.
Strong and Bailey were arrested but both denied physically abusing the child, the report said. Strong admitted to failing to protect her child from others and not properly supervising him or getting him medical treatment in a timely manner, the report said.
Bailey admitted to allowing others to beat the child without his intervention, the report said.
"He also knows that his child is in need of help, but felt helpless to do anything about it," the report said.
Strong was being held on $65,000 bond, and Bailey was being held on $60,000 bond Monday. It was unknown whether either has an attorney.
Florida Department of Children and Families spokeswoman Lissette Valdes-Valle said they are investigating the incident and have a history with the family.
The investigation is in its preliminary stages, she said in a statement Monday afternoon.
"In each investigation that we do, we need the medical examination report from the Child Protection Team to establish if there was abuse or neglect," Valdes-Valle said. "It would be imprudent on our part to rush to judgments without having all of the facts."
A therapist who said she was affiliated with a local hospital testified during a hearing, saying that the child has a psychosis and the medication that he takes causes him to lose weight. She said she had seen him eat food.
Meanwhile, Judge Cindy Lederman said, while looking at photos, that the boy's bones were visible.
"He looks like he came out of Auschwitz," she said. "This is a neon sign of abuse. It's one of the worst cases I have ever seen."