LEHIGH ACRES - A Lehigh Acres mother and her live-in boyfriend are under arrest after an investigation showed the boyfriend would throw the toddler around like a rag doll, emulating moves he saw while watching pro wrestling on television.
On April 2, 2011, the Lee County Sheriff's Office received a complaint of suspected child abuse after bruising was discovered on the 21-month-old male toddler. Due to the nature of the case, the Lee County Sheriff's Office Child Abuse Investigative Unit assumed the investigation.
The victim was examined for injuries. Bruising to the back and the rib area was evident. A skeletal survey conducted at Health Park Hospital revealed the toddler had suffered four, possibly five, fractured ribs.
The toddler's mother, Alexis Serrano, was brought in for questioning. Serrano told investigators that her boyfriend, Steve Plummer, would often slam her son on the bed with great force while watching pro wrestling on television. Serrano said if her son cried, Plummer would continue to slam the victim multiple times and become frustrated at the victim's perceived weakness.
Serrano says she witnessed Plummer punch her son in the rib area and that afterward, she observed redness in that area. Serrano also witnessed Plummer throw a basketball at the toddler's stomach that "would have stung" if it hit an adult. Serrano also said she witnessed Plummer pick her son up by the shirt and slam him against the wall.
Serrano was asked if she didn't report the abuse because she was afraid of Plummer. Serrano stated she did not fear Plummer and that she just wanted to believe the situation would improve.
Based on the information revealed through witness interviews and evidence gathered, Alexis Serrano was arrested and charged with Child Neglect for failing to report the abuse.
A warrant was obtained for the arrest of Steve Plummer. Plummer turned himself in on April 8, 2011. Plummer is charged with First Degree Aggravated Child Abuse.
The victim and his sibling are staying with family members. The Florida Department of Children and Family Services assisted with the investigation.