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Tampa police: Girlfriend knew of child's abuse, didn't report it

TAMPA — Police arrested a second suspect Thursday in their death investigation of 16-month-old Ronderique Anderson.

Tonya Myers, 29, faces a charge of aggravated child neglect. She is the girlfriend of Dwayne Poole, 23, who faces charges of aggravated child abuse and first-degree murder. Police say Poole beat his son, causing the boy's death.

Investigators believe Myers knew Poole was abusing his son. When interviewing her about the young boy's swollen jaw and missing teeth, she said she knew Poole had knocked out the child's teeth, police reported.

She also acknowledged that Ronderique had suffered continued abuse, police say, and she still didn't protect the baby or get him medical help.

Ronderique died as a result of the injuries last Friday, police reported.

Myers has a young daughter, who has been in the care of relatives since police started investigating, said Florida Department of Children and Families spokesman Terry Field.

The police investigation started Feb. 1 when authorities responded to Poole's Temple Crest apartment on a call about an unresponsive child who had fallen down stairs.

Paramedics found Ronderique with a ruptured spleen, fractured forehead and bleeding brain, according to a search warrant application.

Poole later changed his story. As punishment for trying to stick a hanger in an electrical socket, Poole said he spanked, whipped and beat the boy, police said.

He also admitted throwing him onto a bed, causing his head to strike a wall or dresser, according to the warrant application.

Poole was initially charged with aggravated child abuse. The murder charge was added after his son died.

Times staff writer Jack Nicas contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at (813) 226-3433 or jvandervelde@sptimes.com.

Tampa police: Girlfriend knew of child's abuse, didn't report it 02/10/11 [Last modified: Thursday, February 10, 2011 11:24pm]
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