TAMPA — A 3-year-old boy's day care workers knew about the dime-sized boil on his left buttock. They told his mom.
He was a rambunctious boy, liked by the others. On the playground, he always rode a tricycle.
Friday, during circle time, he seemed quiet. He wasn't moving much, said Academy of Tampa Wee Care director Erica White.
Maybe the bump on his bottom irritated the potty-trained boy. Teachers checked.
They found dark red and purple bruises on his back and buttocks.
"He had like hand prints on his arm when someone grabs him really hard. On both arms," White said.
White called the Department of Children and Families and the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. An ambulance took the boy to Tampa General Hospital's emergency room for surgery on his infected sore.
Deputies described the boil as an inflamed scab "so painful the victim could not sit on that side."
The call sparked an investigation into child abuse.
The boy's mother, 24-year-old Aja Sharnay Feagin of 1505 142nd Ave., was arrested Friday. She was charged with child neglect, relating to the child's untended wound, and with violating probation on a previous child abuse charge.
Feagin was charged in 2008 after her son showed up at another day care with "a lot of clothes" covering some scabs and bruises. She said he fell, according to a Tampa police report.
On Tuesday, deputies arrested Feagin's live-in girlfriend on charges of aggravated child abuse. Angela Monique Hammond, 26, told deputies she was home alone with the boy when he urinated his pants. She got angry.
Hammond grabbed the 3-year-old by his arm and hit him five or six times with a cotton belt, an arrest affidavit said. As he moved, she struck from his back down to his legs. When she realized she was bruising the boy, she grabbed his other arm and spanked him with her hand, the affidavit said. His nose bled. She put him in time out.
Hammond told deputies she has an "anger issue."
The child is in protective custody and an investigation continues.
Times researcher Will Gorham contributed to this report. Ileana Morales can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3403.