TAMPA — The 3-year-old's right eye was swollen shut against her swollen face, above a lip so inflamed she couldn't close her mouth. Bruises lined her back, spine, forearm, ear and scalp. Cuts across her cheek matched the patterns of a butterfly-shaped ring worn by her mother.
She fell, her mom said. She was beaten, police concluded.
Now the girl's mother, 29-year-old Cherryl Davis, faces three counts of felony child abuse. She was arrested Monday and released after posting $30,000 bail.
The girl's father, a firefighter with Tampa Fire Rescue, took her to St. Joseph's Hospital on May 22. Police began investigating after doctors concluded the injuries were consistent with abuse.
Police say the girl has recovered and is in her father's custody.
Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Bill Wade confirmed that Lt. Chad Davis has been with the department for almost seven years and was off duty Thursday dealing with personal issues.
Court records show the Davises were married in October.
Times staff writer Rebecca Catalanello contributed to this report.