BY JENNIFER CABRERA
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Shanice Lashone Bailey, 31, was arrested and charged with child abuse without great bodily harm following an investigation into red marks on her 7-year-old son’s forehead.
On January 9, an Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputy responded to a request from the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to investigate allegations of physical abuse against a 7-year-old child. The initial allegation was that the child had a “red mark” on his forehead from being struck in the face with a belt.
A deputy and a DCF investigator made contact with the child and reportedly saw two red marks on his forehead, “linear” in nature. The deputy reported that the child initially said his mother hit him with a belt, then he went inside an apartment with family members; when he came back outside, he reportedly changed his statement and said he fell.
Bailey, the child’s mother, spoke with DCF when she returned home from work on Monday. She reportedly said she wasn’t aware of any marks on the child’s head and that he did not have any marks on his forehead before going to school that morning. She told the investigator that she had disciplined the boy on Sunday after he broke his sister’s new laptop. She reportedly said she uses a “spatula” to spank her children and showed investigators a plastic serving spoon. She reportedly said she does not own a belt.
On Tuesday, the child was interviewed by the UF Child Protection Team. During the interview, the child initially said he fell and also said he “got in trouble” for breaking his sister’s new laptop after he lost his balance. He reportedly said Bailey “got mad” at him and hit him with her hand. When asked where he was hit, he reportedly touched his forehead. He initially denied being hit with a belt but later reportedly said Bailey regularly disciplines him on his hand with a belt. He described the belt and drew a picture of it.
A medical examination of the child revealed four additional linear marks on his body–on his back, his shoulder, and his arm. A mark on his arm appeared rounded at one end, with linear marks extending down from the rounded portion, similar to the picture he drew of the belt and its buckle. No marks were found on the child’s lower body.
A school employee reported that the child had marks on his forehead at school on Monday.
Post Miranda, Bailey denied causing the marks on the child’s forehead; she said that after the child broke his sister’s laptop, she “had to do something,” so she “whooped” him on his upper legs and buttocks with the spatula. When asked about the injuries, she repeatedly said, “He is a boy” and said she had no idea how he was injured.
Bailey’s only previous arrests were for driving without a valid license. Bail information is unavailable, but she is no longer in the jail.
Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.