A mother in Florida allegedly used a stun gun to punish her daughter because the child did not make oatmeal properly.
Court documents allege that witnesses had also seen Melissa Maria Neale, 34, slap the child, pull her hair and hit her with a kitchen spoon to discipline her.
An arrest affidavit states that Neale had been staying at an apartment in Orlando for about three weeks before the stun gun incident occurred on June 9.
A witness told police that Neale became upset that the oatmeal was not made correctly, started yelling and then went to her bedroom to get her stun gun. Neale allegedly activated the weapon and touched the child’s left leg with it, causing her to scream and fall on the floor.
Court documents do not indicate what Neale felt was wrong with the oatmeal.
The witness contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Office on June 13 because she had found a note on the child’s dresser saying she did not want to live anymore, according to the affidavit.
An investigator met with Neale at the Orlando Health and Rehab Center where she worked and questioned her about the allegations.
According to the affidavit, Neale denied ever abusing the child. She allegedly claimed they were just playing around with the stun gun on June 9 and it was not activated when it touched the child.
Officers did find marks on the girl’s left knee cap and a bruise on her calf, the affidavit stated. Neale was charged with aggravated child abuse with a weapon.
Neale posted bond on Friday and was released, but the child has been placed in the care of other family members, Florida Department of Children and Families Communications Director Carrie Hoeppner said Tuesday.
According to Hoeppner, DCF investigators found probable cause to formally request the child be removed from Neale’s care.
“It’s a good thing we have intervened at this point,” Hoeppner said, expressing concern about all of the allegations of abuse contained in the arrest affidavit.
Attempts to reach Neale for comment Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Neale has been appointed a public defender. A spokesperson for the Orange County Public Defender’s Office said Tuesday that Neale has not given the agency permission to speak to the media about the case at this time.