Baby found with nearly 100 rat bites, parents charged

by: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated:

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MAGNOLIA, Ark. - Warning the details of the alleged injuries may be too graphic for some readers.

An Arkansas couple were arrested after their newborn was found to have between 75 and 100 rat bites.

Police were called to Magnolia Regional Medical Center after the baby girl was taken to the emergency room for treatment for the bites.

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A nurse said the 15-day-old child weighed five pounds and had been bitten at least 100 times, KARK reported.

Police told KARK that the baby had bites on her arms, fingers and face, with one bite on the baby’s forehead measuring about an inch wide with the skull visible.

Police identified the child’s parents as Erica Shyrock, 19, and Charles Elliott, 18.

Elliott’s mother said that her son told her that the child had been bitten by a mouse, but said he told her he was afraid the child would be taken away if he took the baby to the hospital.

Shyrock told police that she put the baby to sleep at 5:30 a.m. Sunday. The baby woke her up screaming at 7:30 a.m. and she found the baby covered in blood, KARK reported.

Shyrock told police that both she and Elliott knew that there were rats in the home, but did nothing to get rid of them.

Elliott told police that he and Shyrock woke up at 5 a.m. to the baby crying and saw blood everywhere and rat footprints in the crib. But he and Shyrock waited to take the baby to he hospital until his mother arrived around 9 a.m.

Both Elliott and Shyrock were arrested, charged with endangering the welfare of a minor in the first degree.

A Columbia County deputy prosecuting attorney said that new charges of permitting abuse of a minor with serious physical injury will be filed against the pair. The new charge is a felony, The Magnolia Reporter reported.

When police searched the home, they said they found the baby’s bassinet with rat footprints in blood, the baby’s hat covered in blood and rodent droppings on a nearby table, KARK reported.

Monday, the baby had facial reconstruction to repair the forehead injury.

Tuesday, doctors at Arkansas Children’s Hospital told police that the injuries were so severe that the bites would have taken hours and the baby would have been in distress during the time. The doctor told police that he believes that the parents were either not at the home or were so incapacitated that they were not able to respond. The doctor said he found 75 to 100 bites covering the child, KARK reported.

Erica Shryock, Charles Elliott
Columbia County Sheriff's Office