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Davenport couple arrested in death of woman's 2-year-old son

Toddler would have been 3 years old in October
Posted at 8:32 AM, Aug 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-03 17:38:32-04

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A Davenport couple is facing charges in the death of the woman's 2-year-old son. 

Shannon Short, 26, and Christian Thompson, also 26, have been in the Polk County Jail since Tuesday, July 31 when the toddler died. 

An autopsy showed that Harley, who would have turned 3 in October, died from blunt force trauma. He had a cerebral hemorrhage and a bowel laceration, which resulted in an infection. 

According to the medical examiner, if medical attention had been sought on July 30 Harley would have survived. 

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"When you hear what this precious baby boy was put through, it's sickening," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a press conference Friday. 




Short called 911 Tuesday morning around 3 a.m. when her son became unresponsive. Harley was rushed to the hospital where staff noticed visible bruising on his face and found that he had a brain bleed.

He was pronounced dead at 6:55 a.m. 

According to Judd, the couple had been living together since May. Short worked two jobs while Thompson stayed home with Harley. 

Text messages exchanged between the couple on May 27 talk about Harley breaking a plate. 

"Shannon said, 'mess him up' only she didn't use mess," Grady Judd said. 

Judd said there were several instances after May 27 where Thompson photographed injuries Harley had and sent them to Short while she was at work. 

"His mother knew about the abuse, allowed it, and continued to leave him in the care of his abuser. She and her boyfriend even joked about it," Judd said. 

The injuries included facial bruising, scratches and injuries to the child's genitals. 

"The whole thing is heartbreaking, and I don't think it's possible for me to be more disgusted by their actions." 

Just over a week before Harley died, Short called 911 because Harley hadn't opened his eyes for two days. 

"These folks first, at one point, were googling and thought that the child was possessed because he went for two days and wouldn't open his eyes," Judd said. "Well you know why, he had a serious eye infection."

According to Judd, Short said on July 28 and 29 Harley wasn't acting like himself, that he was clinging to her. 

The next day, July 30, she said he was vomiting and moaning as if he was in pain. 

Short tried to give Harley a bath but was worried he would go underwater because he kept doubling over in pain, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. 

She took him out of the bath, gave him medicine then laid him down. 

According to Judd, she didn't seek medical attention for her son because she was afraid DCF would be called. 

Around 3 a.m. Short said Harley's eyes rolled back into his head and he became limp. This is when she called 911. 

According to the sheriff's office, Thompson and Short both have criminal histories.

Thompson has been charged with First Degree Murder, Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child, Aggravated Child Abuse, Negligent Child Abuse, Possession of Marijuana, and Possession of Paraphernalia. 

Short has been charged with Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child, Negligent Child Abuse with Great Bodily Harm, Child Abuse, Failure to Report Child Abuse, Possession of Marijuana, Possession of Paraphernalia, and VOP (Petit Theft).

They will have first appearance hearings at 1:00 p.m. Friday.