WESH is reporting that the Department of Children and Families has taken custody of an 11-year-old girl who weighed only 40 pounds. John Patrick Bailey and his wife Jacqueline Bailey were arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse.
DCF received a report alleging abuse against the child.
“She probably looks in person to be 4, 5 or 6 years old, when in fact she is 11 years old,” said DCF spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner. DCF said John Bailey’s explanation for his daughter’s low weight is that she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. Police went to Tavares Elementary on Friday (4-12) to talk with the child.
DCF said the child had been homeschooled and recently enrolled in public school.
“I will tell you without a doubt that this individual or individuals probably saved her life,” said Hoeppner. She told them that the refrigerator and pantry were locked and everyone in the home, including two other children, had keys to access them.
She told police that she was not allowed to fall asleep early and if she did she was made to perform jumping jacks or run up and down the stairs. Police said her bedroom door also had a bell on it so if she opened the door during the night, it would be heard. On occasions that her sibling didn’t want the bell on the door, the child would be made to sleep on her parents floor with no blankets or pillows.
The arrest report said, “John Bailey would spank her with his police belt, ping pong paddle, or a ruler on her hand or on her butt, with her pants down.”
It was discovered that the child had chemical burns on both feet. She told investigators she was forced to stand in a bucket of bleach in the bathtub. The child is being treated at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital.
John Bailey, a teacher’s assistant at Tavares High School and former Lady Lake police officer, has been suspended without pay pending a district investigation.