HAINES CITY, Fla. – A Polk County couple is accused of felony child neglect after police say a 2-year-old boy was found with a broken arm and scratches all over his body over the weekend.
According to Haines City police, detectives responded to a call Sunday night after the 2-year-old boy was receiving treatment at the Arnold Palmer Hospital in Orlando. The boy was being treated for dual-ear drainage and was also found with multiple scratches on his head, back and torso, as well as having multiple sores, thin legs, a protruding rib cage, and rotten and chipped teeth, police said.
The toddler also had a broken left arm that was not properly treated and an open wound “about two inches in diameter” on his left forearm. Police said the toddler was unable to stand, walk or crawl and didn't appear to have been bathed in days.
"To treat an animal this way would be an outrage, much less a child," Haines City Police Chief Jim Elensky said in a press release. "We appreciate DCF bringing this to our attention and our detectives for their swift action."
On Monday, police arrested 34-year-old Alejandro Gallardo and his girlfriend, 33-year-old Yuri Melgar. Both were charged with second-degree felony aggravated child neglect with great bodily harm.
Police said when deputies arrived at the couple’s home, they found a “well-kept residence with three other children who appeared to be properly cared for.” Their home also appeared to be neat and clean, police said.
Both Gallardo and Melgar are undocumented and are being detained by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, according to police. The Department of Children and Families has placed the boy with a family friend.
"This child deserves a normal childhood – to be loved and properly cared for – and can hopefully find that moving forward," Chief Elensky said in the release. "These actions, or lack thereof, are nothing short of reprehensible."