SARASOTA - An 11-year-old girl died after being deprived of oxygen. Deputies say the girl's parents often restrained her, and that she was regularly 'hog-tied.'
Deputies first responded to the home on Delft Rd. on December 12, after she had reportedly stopped breathing. The child was taken to Doctor’s Hospital and then transferred to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.
Doctors found that Melissa had severe brain damage and was classified as brain dead. She also had ligature marks on her upper arms, wrists, ankles and thigh area.
Melissa died December 17 from what the medical examiner said was hypoxia, caused by the deprivation of adequate oxygen supply.
The Department of Children and Families has taken custody of five other children who lived in the home, some of whom described how the parents 'restrained' Melissa.
Investigators learned the girl was regularly 'hog tied,' tied to a board on her bed with duct tape covering her mouth, or tied up and put in a filthy family pool.
The girl's father, Kenneth Stoddard, 35, is charged with aggravated child abuse and being held without bond.
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Another warm and humid day with a chance for mainly inland afternoon storms.