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Police: woman shook, punched her niece in the face in St. Pete

When Odette Cleveland took off with her niece in a stroller Sunday, she said she was headed for a nearby park. By the end of the ride, the 1-year-old girl was bloodied and bruised and Cleveland was charged with aggravated child abuse.

About 3 p.m., Frederick Brown, 20, spotted Cleveland, 53, of Clearwater shaking and punching the girl as she sat in her stroller near Fairfield Avenue and 37th Street S in St. Petersburg, Brown said.

He circled back around, but said Cleveland wasn't hitting her by the time he returned. He left and nearly made it home, but then decided to come back. Brown found Cleveland and the stroller on the Pinellas Trail. He said she was leaning over and shaking the baby inside the seat, and though there were others on the trail, she was blocking their view. "I saw the blood all over the baby's mouth," Brown said.

Enraged, Brown asked Cleveland why the baby was bloodied. When she said she didn't know what he was talking about, he kicked her in the stomach and chased her, he said. He continued to chase her and threw her down, he said.

The girl had a cut on her left cheek, a scrape on her chest and a small cut on her upper lip, according to an arrest affidavit. She does not appear to have suffered major injuries, St. Petersburg police spokesman Mike Puetz said.

Cleveland was charged with aggravated child abuse and booked into the Pinellas County Jail, where she remained Monday in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Police: woman shook, punched her niece in the face in St. Pete 12/09/13 [Last modified: Monday, December 9, 2013 9:35pm]
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