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Husband of daycare owner accused of sex abuse

12:41 AM, Feb 21, 2013   |    comments
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WINTER HAVEN, Florida - The husband of a woman who once ran a daycare in Winter Haven has been arrested for sexually abusing a child.

Carroll Gardner was arrested on Tuesday on charges that he made contact with a 3-year-old who was being cared for at his wife's daycare, which is operated out of the couple's home.

The incident took place last August, but the arrest just happened because of DNA testing done by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

After the alleged incident on August 17, the child told his mother, and that is when she gave the child a stuffed animal to show what happened.

According to details from the Polk County Sheriff's Office, "The mother told detectives the child took the teddy bear and rubbed its face against his groin."

Shortly after the boy recounted the incident, his mother took him to the hospital, where a sexual assault kit was performed and DNA sample taken.

"The importance of DNA evidence in this case cannot be over stated. We had good statements from the victim and the victim's mother, but the ability to collect potential DNA evidence and the subsequent match gave us the key we needed to arrest this predator. The child's mother did absolutely the right thing by effectively communicating with her son and contacting the sheriff's office," said Sheriff Grady Judd.

The sheriff's office is not conducting any further investigation into abuse of children, but they ask anyone with more information to come forward.

"What if he did this to other kids and they're just not talking about it yet?" said Megan Butz, who lives just a few doors down from the Gardner family.

Carroll Gardner was also a member of the Boy Scouts and, according to his Facebook page, worked with Cub Pack 321 in Winter Haven.

10 News talked with a former unit head who worked with the 50-year-old, who said he left the group last May and never had contact with children alone.

If you are curious about a daycare, check out the Florida Department of Children and Families website or you can call the local DCF licensing office in your county with questions or concerns. 

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