Sunday, April 22, 2018
Public safety

Police say St. Petersburg man beat toddler while girlfriend bought drugs

ST. PETERSBURG — A St. Petersburg man faces a felony child abuse charge after he beat his girlfriend's 2-year-old boy while she was out buying drugs, police said.

About 1:30 p.m. Saturday, authorities were called to Bayfront Medical Center about a possible child abuse case. There, they found Anthony Prestero, 23, holding the unconscious toddler in his arms.

Prestero had told Fire Rescue crews that the boy fell from a couch, but had refused to let them inside the residence, police said.

A medical examination revealed the boy suffered severe head and facial injuries that were inconsistent with such a fall, police said. The boy was admitted to All Children's Hospital as a trauma alert, but his condition later stabilized.

Police said the child's 28-year-old mother was present at the hospital. She acknowledged to authorities that she had left the child in the care of Prestero, her live-in boyfriend, while she went to buy drugs.

She told police that she later received a phone call from him, saying that something had happened to her son.

Detectives said that Prestero continued to maintain that the boy had fallen, but now said he had tumbled from a kitchen counter.

He was arrested Saturday night and was being held on $5,000 bail at the Pinellas County Jail.

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