TARPON SPRINGS — A 29-year-old man is under arrest for repeatedly inflicting physical abuse on two toddlers ages 2 and 3 — by biting them dozens of times.
Their mother knew about the abuse, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, but did nothing about it.
Rashawn Davis beat and bit the two boys at a home in Tarpon Springs during a three-month span from June to August, according to the agency, leaving the children with permanent scars. He was arrested Thursday on two counts of aggravated child abuse with great bodily harm.
Deputies also arrested his girlfriend and the mother of the two abused boys, 25-year-old Andrea Fulton, on two counts of child neglect with great bodily harm. She admitted to investigators that she knew about the scars covering her two sons, according to the Sheriff's Office.
The investigation started on Aug. 20, the agency said, when Fulton's four children — ages 1, 2, 3 and 6 — were removed from her home by child protection investigators because of "domestic-related issues" involving Davis. He was the father of the 1-year-old child.
Three of the children were placed in foster care and the fourth was given to a family member, the Sheriff's Office said. But while in state custody, the agency said that medical examinations revealed the 2 and 3-year-old bore the scars of abuse. The 2-year-old had suffered more than 35 lacerations and eight bite marks on his back, buttocks and facial cheek, investigators said. They said the 3-year-old had one circular bite mark on a buttock.
A forensic odonatologist examined the "multiple bite marks and long linear scars" and determined they "were not accidental in nature," the agency said, while "the force used to leave a mark was significant."
Detectives obtained dental impressions from both Fulton and Davis. The mother's bite marks excluded her as a possible suspect, the agency said, but did not exclude Davis.
The couple spoke to detectives Thursday at the sheriff's headquarters in Largo. Davis said he bit the 2-year-old old numerous times "out of frustration," the Sheriff's Office said. Fulton said she knew about the bite marks but failed to seek help for her children, detectives said.
Both were arrested and taken to the county jail. Davis was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail. Fulton's bail was not available in jail records.
Contact Anastasia Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites.