A Florida couple arrested after their 6-year-old son was found unconscious in the toilet of a filthy hotel room have been accused of murdering the boy and abusing his other five children so badly that their bodies were left with cuts, bruises and stained matched a bloodstained shoe.
Osceola County Sheriff Marcos Lopez called it “the worst case of child abuse” he and his detectives had ever seen — and he denounced the parents, Bianca Blaise and Larry Rhodes, as “savages” and “monsters.”
At a press conference Wednesday, which included photos of the hotel room at the Knights Inn where the family of eight stayed for months and some of the injuries, Lopez revealed that two of the surviving children had described horrific beatings.
And an autopsy on the 6-year-old revealed he died from blunt force trauma that included a brain hemorrhage and an injured liver.
According to a previous police report, Blaise told investigators that Rhodes was off his schizophrenia medication and that he was the one who hit the children – but the sheriff told reporters she was just as responsible for her son’s death.
The family moved from Fort Myers to the Kissimmee hotel room in March, but none of the children attended school or played outside. Those residing in nearby rooms didn’t even hear a cry, which Lopez says may indicate they were used to the abuse.
Police were summoned to the hotel room on July 5 by a 911 call from Blaise, who said her child drowned while drinking from the toilet, and the first detective to the scene found the boy with his head in the water.
“During our investigation, the child was discovered was He drank from the toilet, but that had nothing to do with why he wasn’t breathing,” Lopez said.
“His parents got very angry because he drank from the toilet and they started hitting him. First his mother hit him. Then the father started hitting that little boy with his closed fist over and over again.”
The boy was taken to the hospital and placed on life support, and his parents were arrested for neglect. The boy died a few days later as authorities pieced together what the children – aged 5, 4, 2 and 10 months of the survivors – endured.
“It was immediately clear that the other children were also victims of child abuse,” Lopez said, adding that all of the children were malnourished, small for their age, and covered with old and new scrapes and bruises.
Detectives noticed a distinctively shaped mark on their “tiny little bodies” that perfectly matched the sole of a shoe they said was used as a weapon. Blood spatters were found on the walls of the room. A child had a broken collarbone.
The 4- and 5-year-olds were able to tell investigators what they had been through and that, combined with the autopsy results, led to the prosecutor charging Blaise, 25, and Rhodes, 22, with murder. aggravated homicide, aggravated child abuse and child neglect.
The children are now in the same foster home and are doing well.
“We were able to take these kids from these monsters and hopefully they’ll never see them again,” Lopez said.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/bianca-blaise-and-larry-rhodes-charged-with-murder-of-boy-found-in-toilet-in-knights-inn-in-osceola-county?source=articles&via=rss Bianca Blaise and Larry Rhodes charged in the murder of a boy found in the restroom at the Knights Inn in Osceola County