Bradenton woman charged with beating child, cops say. The wounds required 55 stitches

A 32-year-old Bradenton woman is charged with felony aggravated child abuse after she struck her child with a metal broom handle, according to the Bradenton Police Department.

Police say Tabitha Rhodes not only beat her 13-year-old child with the metal broomstick, but broke it on the child and continued to strike the victim after it broke.

Police say the incident occurred on Oct. 6. Police received the case from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office Child Protective Services division on Oct. 15 and after an investigation, an arrest warrant was obtained. Rhodes was taken into custody on Wednesday.

Police say during the investigation, the child had initially lied to school officials after a number of lacerations were found on the child’s body. The child detailed why Rhodes began striking.

According to the arrest warrant, the child said his mother struck him several times with the broom, but did not receive the lacerations until the broom broke and she continued to hit him, angry he had an overnight bathroom accident.

Following the “beating,” the child went to his room and Rhodes came into the room and observed the wounds and took the child to Manatee Memorial Hospital, the report states.

According to the report, Rhodes pleaded with the child before taking him for medical care not to be truthful, even providing him with a false story that he got into a fight with neighborhood boys and they pushed him into a bush.

“Don’t tell them or you won’t be able to see me,” his mother told the child, according to the warrant.

The child required 10 stitches on one of the wounds on his arm and 45 stitches on his back.

She was booked into the Manatee County jail on the charge without bond, according to jail records.

Breaking News/Real Time Reporter Mark Young began his career in 1996 and has been with the Bradenton Herald since 2014. He has won more than a dozen awards over the years, including the coveted Lucy Morgan Award for In-Depth Reporting from the Florida Press Club and for beat reporting from the Society for Professional Journalists to name a few. His reporting experience is as diverse as the communities he covers.
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