Florida, bleach, baby bottle, child abuse

Mother Accused Of Filling Baby’s Bottle With Bleach

The Florida woman was charged with child abuse and neglect.

A Florida woman has been arrested and charged with child abuse and child neglect after reports were filed with the police in January that she had allegedly fed her 13-month-old daughter a bottle filled with bleach. According to a press release on June 4, Melissa Barnes was arrested and charged.

Barnes claimed that she just used bleach to rinse the baby bottle. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office reported that a relative made a police report that Barnes and her young daughter were living in a shed with no electricity that was “cold, cluttered, and unsanitary” at the time. When the relative attempted to feed Barnes’ daughter, they realized that the bottle had bleach in it, People reports. 

The discovery prompted a police investigation into the home, and ultimately, the Department of Children and Families removed the toddler from Barnes and placed her with a responsible relative.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Florida detective discovered “bleach-based disinfectant and paint” inside the shed. The FBI forensic laboratory confirmed that “chlorine-based bleach” was present in the bottle.

Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement, “This case is deeply disturbing. No child deserves to be subjected to such dangerous and neglectful conditions.”

The statement continued, “The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is committed to protecting our community’s most vulnerable, and we will work tirelessly to ensure that those who harm children are held accountable.”

Barnes was arrested and taken into police custody by the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office on June 3, following the issuance of arrest warrants for Barnes. She is being held in Highland County jail and is awaiting extradition as the investigation continues.

If you suspect child abuse, call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child or 1-800-422-4453, or go to www.childhelp.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential.

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