POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 35-year-old woman was arrested for child abuse in the death of a 13-month-boy in Polk County, according to the sheriff’s office.
Deputies said Neidy Mendez-Gudine called 911 from her residence in Davenport on Friday and said the baby was “choking and not breathing.”
The child was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, where he was declared brain dead. He died the next day.
According to deputies, Mendez-Gudine had told paramedics she left the child on her bed while she went into another room to care for other kids. When she returned 15 minutes later, she found the boy unresponsive on the floor.
Doctors said the child had suffered two skull fractures and subdural hemorrhaging and that his injuries were traumatic and not consistent with falling off a bed or falling down.
After an autopsy, the Polk County medical examiner’s office said the baby died of head trauma and noted that the subdural hemorrhaging at the top of his skull and spine, and in his neck muscles, was consistent with being shaken.
“The suspect was the only person with the victim at the time the injuries were inflicted upon him,” deputies said in a news release.
A witness provided detectives with a statement, in which he claimed he thought Mendez-Gudine threw the child.
“This is the second horrific incident in a matter of weeks where an adult has killed a baby for whom he or she has been charged with caring. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who are suffering these unthinkable losses,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. We will do everything in our power to ensure this suspect is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that she never has access to children again.”
Mendez-Gudine was arrested on Wednesday and charged with one count of aggravated child abuse and one count of manslaughter.
She is being held at a Polk County Jail without bond.