A Florida couple is behind bars after their 6-year-old son was found unconscious with his head inside a toilet bowl.
Osceola County Sheriff’s officers made the shocking discovery on July 5th while responding to a call about a child possibly drowning. When they arrived at Knights Inn in Kissimmee, they went to the room of 22-year-old Larry Rhodes and 25-year-old Bianca Blaise and found the child with swollen eyes and no pulse. He was rushed to Arnold Palmer Hospital with a “life-threatening brain bleed.” He is now on life support.
Initially, Blaise told police that she went to a drug-testing facility on the morning of July 5th, but it was closed, so she returned to the motel room where the family lived. She said she found her son with his “head in the toilet like he was drinking water.” Blaise said she later determined that the boy was unconscious. Rhodes was reportedly lying on one of the beds. Blaise first claimed that the 6-year-old sustained his injuries from playing with his 4-year-old brother, who also lived in the motel room. However, when emergency personnel questioned the younger child alone about the bruises and cuts on his body, he confirmed that Rhodes beat him.
In total, six children lived in the room with the couple, and all of them had visible bruises and injuries. Blaise denied the children were being abused at first but soon confessed that Rhodes would beat the kids with a woman’s sandal to discipline them. Investigators located the shoe inside the hotel room and observed blood on it as well as on the walls. Marks on the children were also consistent with the pattern on the bottom of a sandal.
Blaise also admitted that she and Rhodes had been together for seven years, and he suffered from schizophrenia. Rhodes has been off his medication and watching their kids while she worked for Uber and Shipt. While she recognized she needed to leave him, Blaise said she didn’t have the financial means to do so. Rhodes refused to speak with authorities and demanded a lawyer.
Blaise and Rhodes were charged with six counts of child neglect with great bodily harm. Rhodes was also hit with an added battery charge and aggravated child abuse. He remains behind bars. Blaise eventually posted bail and has been released.