TAMPA — A man and woman face charges of child neglect and child abuse after detectives determined that a 3-year-old was choked and struck in the face with a belt and that a 7-year-old was punched in the face several times, police said.
Candice Johnson, 28, left her two kids alone at home, 6212 S Dale Mabry Highway, Apt. 3, for several hours Monday. The children were playing with a neighboring child when that child's parent invited them inside her apartment, police said. The parent noticed two black eyes on the 7-year-old and bruises on the 3-year-old's face.
Detectives said Sherman Lamont Purnell, 21, punched one of the kids multiple times and hit the other in the face with a belt. His relationship to the children and their mother was unclear. He was charged with child abuse and child neglect. Johnson was charged with child neglect.
The Department of Children and Families took temporary custody of the kids. Johnson and Purnell remain in jail.