Sarasota man charged with child abuse after daughter, 11, dies

December 20, 2012 

SARASOTA -- A 35-year-old Sarasota man has been charged with abusing his 11-year-old daughter, who died Monday, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators have determined the girl was regularly "'hog tied,' tied to a board on her bed with duct tape on her mouth, or tied up and put in a filthy family pool," a news release states.

Sarasota County EMS was called to the home of Kenneth Stoddard on Dec. 12 when the girl, Melissa Stoddard, stopped breathing. The girl was taken to Doctors Hospital in Sarasota and later to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where doctors discovered Melissa had severe brain damage and was classified as brain dead, according to a news release.

The girl "also had ligature marks on her upper arms, wrists, ankles and thigh area," the report states.

Melissa died Monday, and an autopsy determined that the cause of death was hypoxia, which is caused by the deprivation of adequate oxygen supply.

The Department of Children and Families has taken custody of the five other children who also lived in the home, some of whom described how the parents “restrained” Melissa," the sheriff's office said.

Kenneth Stoddard is charged with aggravated child abuse and is being held without bond. Additional charges are possible, according to the sheriff's office.

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