Marion County deputies arrest man for murdering toddler
OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office charged a man with the death of a toddler whose spine was completely severed.
Travis Ray Thompson, 25, was arrested Thursday on first-degree murder charges while Engaged in aggravated child abuse.
Investigators say they received reports from AdventHealth Waterman, a hospital in Tavares, on May 3. Detectives with the Major Crimes unit responded to the hospital after medical staff reported a toddler who arrived at the emergency room in critical condition. The young girl died despite many attempts to save her life.
Deputies say their investigation showed Thompson physically abused the toddler while she was in his care, resulting in the complete severing of her spine.
Thompson claimed he and the victim were in separate rooms when he heard a loud noise and found the toddler unresponsive and taking shallow breaths. Deputies say rather than calling 911, Thompson waited for 30 minutes for the victim’s mother to arrive. Thompson and the girl’s mother started driving the toddler to the hospital when the mother realized the child had completely stopped breathing and directed him to call 911.
The medical examiner determined the child’s death was caused by traumatic injuries to her torso with a severing of her spine and internal bleeding behind her organs. Investigators say that based on the severity of her injuries, it was determined Thompson applied significant, gradual force to the toddler’s upper and lower body from the front with a fulcrum point on her lower back.
“For a lot of us here who are parents, it hits a little bit closer to home for us,” said Zach Moore, public information officer, MCSO “Myself as a parent with a three-year-old daughter it really is heartbreaking to know that someone out there could commit such an atrocity against a child, against an innocent child.”
Deputies took Thompson into custody Thursday and say he maintained he did not know how or why the girl was murdered.
Thompson was placed under arrest and booked into the Marion County Jail where he is being held without bond. He is also on misdemeanor probation for Failure to Comply with an Injunction to Prevent Child Abuse.
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