A 2-year-old Floral City girl sustained a head injury when her mother left her to go on a drug deal, Citrus County deputies say.
Harry Ortiz, 32, and Cori Whitehurst, 28, are each facing child abuse and drug charges.
Deputies say on March 4 they were contacted by Brooksville Regional Hospital and the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a 2-year-old girl with extensive bruising and swelling to her left eye and left side of her head.
Detectives responded to that location and determined that the injury occurred at a home in Floral City, deputies say.
Detectives then responded to the incident location in Floral City and secured the residence for a search warrant.
Both defendants, returned to the house shortly after Detective Bryan Hesse’s arrival while the child was transferred to All Children’s Hospital, according to deputies.
The initial report from the tests at Brooksville Regional stated that the child had suffered a skull fracture, deputies explained.
Deputies told ABC Action News after being transported to All Children’s Hospital, the child was further examined by a pediatric specialist on March 5 who could not confirm the skull fracture but stated that based on the amount of swelling and bruising the child had most likely suffered from high force blunt trauma.
The initial statements from the two defendants were that the child had fallen off the porch steps several days prior but did not present any injuries until the morning of March 4, deputies noted.
According to deputies, this story contradicted the medical findings by the pediatric specialist and could not have caused the injuries to the child.
Through further investigation and interviews it was determined that Whitehurst left the house sometime between 8 and 9 p.m. on March 3 to sell heroin that both she and Ortiz had purchased earlier in Orlando with the intent to sell when they returned home, deputies.
Whitehurst stated that she delivered the heroin because Ortiz was too high to drive and he instructed her to bring it to a specific person at a specific location, investigators added.
While she was gone for at least an hour making the sale, she left three young children in the care of Ortiz who was high on several different drugs, deputies say.
It is during that time that the child suffered the injury to her face and skull.
There were also several witnesses that said the child was fine and in good health just prior to Whitehurst leaving to make the sale, deputies said.
The injuries were allegedly not noticed until the following morning when an older sibling saw the young girl and alerted Whitehurst of the injury.
All three children were removed from the home and are being cared for by a family member.
Deputies say the little girl has recovered and is doing fine.