Two teenage parents have been jailed after they let rats bite their newborn baby’s head, face and body more than 100 times. The baby girl, who lived with her parents in Magnolia, Arkansas, was just 15 days old and suffered so many injuries from rats that she had to undergo extensive reconstruction surgery on her skull. Her parents Erica Shryock 19 years old and Charles Elliot 18 years old pleaded guilty to permitting the abuse of a minor. An examination revealed that baby had 75 to 100 rat bites all over her body, including on her arms, fingers, hands and face. The worst injury was an inch-wide gash on baby’s forehead that was so deep it exposed a portion of her skull. The shocking injuries were detailed in an arrest affidavit.
Social workers who visited the unnamed baby’s home also found her cot filled with blood. Investigators found bloody rat footprints throughout house, as well as a baby’s blanket that was soaked in blood. Shryock and Elliott were living with a friend in ramshackle house in Magnolia. Both parents admitted to doing crystal meth and K2 in the days before they found their daughter covered in bites. The court heard that parents were both abused as kids themselves and ended up in care. Both Shryock and Elliott were sentenced to 5 years in prison.
They will be eligible for parole after 304 days and will begin their terms with 293 days already served. This means that is is likely that two will be released from custody within 30 days, defense attorney Joseph Churchwell said. Churchwell told in an interview after the court hearing ‘It’s as good as we were going to get. They should have never been allowed to leave the hospital with the baby when she was born. This is DHS fault. Why did they wait until this baby’s face was chewed on by rats?’
Baby, who was born prematurely and weighed a little more than 4 pounds at birth, has now been adopted.
Elliott reportedly has 2 other children in state custody. The court heard how both parents had violent childhoods and suffered physical and sexual abuse. Both suffer from substance abuse and mental health issues. Their house has since been condemned and burned down by state.