A judge Friday ordered into protective custody the older brother of a 10-month-old girl Bradenton police say was beaten to death earlier this week. The 3-year-old boy, according to police, was also injured by the suspect in the case.
Tariah died Tuesday as a result of injuries she received during the two hours she was in the care of her mother’s boyfriend, Eric Neri, investigators said. She had multiple skull fractures and bruises on her body.
Neri, 21, is charged with second-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect. He is being held without bond at the Manatee County jail.
Tariah’s brother was also left with Neri on Tuesday. He has been hospitalized since at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg with multiple skull fractures, a leg fracture and bruises all over his body.
“All of the injuries were consistent with high force and high impact and had to have occurred between this Tuesday and Thursday,” a representative from the Florida Department of Children and Families said in court Friday. “The child was in the primary care of his mother and her paramour.”
Police have not filed any criminal charges against the children’s mother, Tronesh Ackerman.
Ackerman on Friday appeared before Circuit Judge Susan Maulucci, who found cause to order the boy removed from his mother’s custody.
“The mother admits that she’s hit the 3-year-old with a belt on his bottom,” the DCF official said in court. “Mr. Neri states that it has been on more than one occasion and several instances.”
The boy is also extremely below average weight, according to DCF, and suffering from failure to cry.
Maulucci also ordered that Ackerman not have any contact with her son and appear at a hearing at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 6.
Ackerman stood quietly throughout the hearing.
Neri also appeared before Maulucci via video conference. He had been ordered Thursday to return to court because his attorney was arguing there was insufficient evidence to charge him with child abuse.
The Bradenton Police Department has since amended Neri’s arrest paperwork with additional information and increased the initial charge of child abuse to aggravated child abuse.
“We do not continue to have a probable cause argument with the new paperwork,” Deputy Chief Public Defender Jennifer Joynt Sanchez.
Maulucci ordered Neri have no contact with Tariah’s brother.
After Neri’s hearing was completed, Ackerman, who remained in the courtroom, bowed her head between her knees and appeared to be sobbing.
Outside the courthouse, she declined to comment.