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Woman arrested after injured boy, 13, found wandering on U.S. 19

Published Apr. 25, 2012

NEW PORT RICHEY — A woman is accused of beating a 13-year-old boy with a cord and a belt until he had welts on his body. The teen was found barefoot on U.S. 19 Thursday morning, about an hour after an anonymous citizen reported seeing a child running along the highway. He told authorities he ran away "because he was being 'beaten' and could not take it anymore,'" a New Port Richey Police Department report states.

Melissa Strong-Alves, who is a licensed registered nurse, said she didn't call police when the child fled "because he has a tendency to run away," the report states.

Strong-Alves, of 5419 Bellview Ave., was arrested and charged with child abuse and child neglect. She was released from the Pasco jail Thursday on $10,000 bail. The teen and four other children from her home were taken into protective custody, police said.

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