Charges upgraded for couple whose child was found with 100 rat bites

Authorities say Erica Shryock, 19, and Charles Elliott, 18, face new charges of permitting abuse of a minor with serious physical injury. (Photos courtesy: Columbia County Sheriff's Office)

Charges have been upgraded for a Magnolia couple after their infant suffered 100 rat bites.

According to The Magnolia Reporter, Erica Shryock, 19, and Charles Elliott, 18, were already behind bars in Columbia County for first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor.

The deputy prosecuting attorney, Ryan Phillips, says those charges have been upgraded to permitting abuse of a minor with serious physical injury, a felony.

Phillips tells The Magnolia Reporter that police were called Sunday morning to the Magnolia Regional Medical Center, where a 15-day-old female baby was hospitalized for rat bites to her fingers, hands, arms and face. One of the gashes on the child's forehead showed her skull through an inch-long wound.

The child was then transported to the Arkansas Children's Hospital.

According to Phillips, police were told by Elliott's mother that Elliott told her the child was bitten by a mouse and was scared the child would be taken away if she was put in the hospital.

His mother was able to persuade the couple to take the baby to the hospital.

Phillips says the couple gave statements to police saying they woke up around 5 a.m. to the child screaming and bleeding. They both told police they knew there was a rodent issue.

The Magnolia Reporter says Margie Williams, who lived with the couple, gave police consent to search the home, where they found the bloody bassinet with rodent footprints, rodent droppings and blood-soaked clothing. She says she did not see how the couple did not wake up, since the baby was sleeping right beside them.

Doctors at Arkansas Children's Hospital told police the child's injuries would have taken hours to occur and the infant would have been in distress during the incident. Doctors estimated the child had 75 to 100 bites. They suggested that the child's caregivers were either incapacitated or absent to not have responded to the child in distress.

On Monday, the child had surgery to fix her open head wound.

On Wednesday, the couple made their first appearance in court where the mother stated the entire incident was an accident.

Shyrock and Elliott are both being held at Columbia County Justice and Detention Facility without bond.

Elliott Shryock 1st Imf_001 by Sarah on Scribd

Erica Shryock-Prob Cause_001 by Sarah on Scribd

Prob Cause- C.elliott_001 by Sarah on Scribd

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