SARASOTA, Florida -- A Sarasota man was arrested today for aggravated child abuse after police say he hog-tied his 11-year-old daughter, who later died.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office says Melissa Stoddard stopped breathing on December 12. The girl was taken to Doctor's Hospital, then transferred to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where doctors discovered she had severe brain damage. Deputies say she also had ligature marks on her upper arms, wrists, ankles and thigh area.
Melissa was classifed as brain dead. She died on December 17.
The Department of Children and Families has taken custody of five other children who also lived in the home, some of whom described how the parents allegedly "restrained" Melissa. Investigators learned the girl was regularly "hog tied" to a board on her bed with duct tape covering her mouth, or tied up and put in a filthy family pool.
The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office arrested Melissa's father, Kenneth Stoddard for abusing his daughter. He is charged with Aggravated Child Abuse and is being held without bond.
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