Couple Arrested In Child Abuse Case

MEDIA RELEASEDate: November 20, 2009Time: 2:45 P.M.Williston, Florida-On November 20, 2009 Detective Roger Bell arrested Alexander Merida for lewd and lascivious molestation on a two year old child and also arrested his girlfriend, Christina Morales for neglect of a child. The investigation revealed that a DCF Investigator responded to the residence at 11452 NE 48 Street on Wednesday, November 18, 2009 in reference to a child abuse complaint. The investigator noticed injuries to the child’s face and scheduled a medical examine the following day. Upon the medical examine being performed the Levy County Sheriff’s Office was notified and Detective Roger Bell responded to the DCF Office in Gainesville. Morales began dating Merida eight months ago. Prior to Merida living at the residence, a 15 year old reported to Morales that Merida was bathing the child and she heard a noise that sounded like the child being slapped. During this incident Morales was at work but she asked Merida about the injuries when she returned home. Merida denied any involvement. Even though Morales was suspicious about this incident she allowed Merida to move into the residence and care for the children while she worked the night shift. Detective Bell observed obvious marks on the victim’s face from the nose to her right ear and questioned Morales about the injury. Morales concocted a story that her daughter was playing with her three year old brother and they were struggling over a toy and the victim fell and received the injury. Morales finally confessed and stated that about three weeks ago the child defecated on the carpet. For punishment Merida grabbed the child and rubbed her face in the carpet like you would discipline a dog for an accident. The child had scars on her buttocks and feet and Morales was questioned about this incident. Morales stated that approximately two months ago her children were outside playing in the yard and they came in the house with dirty feet. Morales asked her three year old son to take his sister in the bathroom and take a bath. According to Morales her son turned on only hot water which comes out of the faucet immediately. Scalding hot water burned the two year old child. Morales stated that she heard the baby screaming and removed her from the bath tub. Morales stated that she neglected to provide any medical service for the two injuries because she knew that DCF would remove her children from the residence. Upon a further medical examination the child had bruising and marks inside her inner thigh area and also a bite mark or suck type marks around the navel area. Through an interpreter Merida stated that he placed his mouth in the above areas and sucked hard enough to cause bruising. Merida was arrested for lewd and lascivious molestation on a 2 year old child and more charges will be filed at a later date. Merida is not a US citizen.Defendants:Christina Morales 14452 NE 48 StreetWilliston, FloridaWhite Female05/18/81 Alexander Merida14452 NE 48 StreetWilliston, FloridaGuatemala Male09/29/77###