Man severely beat toddler, mother blamed a dog and the child


child abuser, james kenrick, ocala news, marion county news, child neglect, child beating, parent of the year
James Kenrick

[Last updated on June 20, 2015, at 11:10 a.m.] 

Ocklawaha, Florida — Marion County Sheriff’s deputies have arrested a man they say severely beat a 13-month-old toddler.

On May 31, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office responded to Munroe Regional Medical Center Children’s Emergency Room, in reference to an alleged case of child abuse.


Upon arrival, Deputy Follett spoke with Dr. Miguel Cruz.

According to reports, Dr. Cruz told the deputy that the 13-month-old girl had been brought into the emergency room by her mother and her boyfriend, James Kenrick, 24, because the child was lethargic.

Dr. Cruz stated that when he examined the child he noticed numerous bruises about her body. Dr. Cruz also stated that Kenrick’s explanation of how the bruises got to be on the child’s body did not make sense.

Kenrick told the doctor that the toddler had fallen face first and hit her head.

A closer examination revealed that the toddler had bruises on her forehead, back, legs, chest, arms, and the back of her skull.

According to the doctor, the bruises were in various stages of healing.

The doctor then discovered that the toddler had a skull fracture on the back of her skull, and bleeding on the brain.

The toddler was then transferred to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.

The deputy then conducted interviews with Kenrick and the mother.

According to reports, the deputy went to the trailer that the couple shared to get a clearer picture of what had actually happened to the toddler.

The mother stated that she was at work at the time of the incident.

According to reports, Kenrick participated in a video recorded reenactment of the incident.

During the reenactment, Kenrick showed the deputy how the toddler fell face first by falling off of a dining room chair.

The deputy reported that the chair was only 17.5 inches high, and that the child would have fallen onto laminate flooring.

The mother then began to make excuses for Kenrick. She told the deputy that the toddler had been sick with a cold and congested. The mother stated that the child was being treated with over-the-counter cold medicine, as if to insinuate that the child had lost her balance because of the medicine.

According to reports, the mother told the deputy that they also had a German Shepherd and that the dog would sometimes play rough with the toddler.

The mother said that she had only noticed scratches and a small bruise on the child’s butt and leg.

The mother stated that she believed the scratches came from the dog.

The mother told the deputy that a bruise on the toddler’s butt was because she had sat down too abruptly and hit the floor with all of her weight.

The deputy also reported that the mother blamed some of the marking on the child’s face and neck, on the child herself. The mother stated that the toddler would sometimes throw a temper tantrum and scratch herself with her own fingernails.

The mother stated, “You can plainly see the marks were made with small fingernails and self inflicted.”

Kenrick told the deputy that he was feeding the toddler supper when he reached for the refrigerator and the child fell face first.

Kenrick stated that the child was unresponsive, so he splashed her in the face with water in an attempt to get her to respond. He then changed her clothing and put her to bed.

When the mother got home at approximately 1 a.m., she said the child was “whimpering.” The mother stated that she checked on the toddler and put her back to bed.

According to reports, the next morning the mother noticed that the child’s head was swollen. That is when she took her to the emergency room.

Investigators said that the child has been released from the hospital and is recovering. Once released, the Department of Children and Families made the decision to remove the child from the home. She was placed in the custody of her biological father.

On June 4, Kenrick responded to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and participated in a polygraph test. According to reports, investigators determined that during the test Kenrick was deceptive when asked if he had intentionally caused injuries to the toddler.

Investigators then received a report from Child Protection Team, from Dr. Cameron Rosenthal.

The report stated that there was significant swelling in the temporal lobe region and posterior head extending to the neck. The report showed swelling to the scalp in parietotemporal region, red bruising to the right post auricular area, red/brown bruise to central forehead, two brown bruises in cluster on the right posterior thigh, light brown bruise to right lateral abdomen, scattered light brown bruises to the mid back, and a laceration and bleeding to the upper lip. Additionally, the reported noted that the toddler suffered a skull fracture with significant overlying scalp swelling, a large area of bleeding in her brain, evidence of shear injury to the brain, a brachial plexus nerve injury, and bruising and abrasions on multiple planes of her body.

Based on these finding, Kenrick was arrested on June 18, and transported to the Marion County Jail.

He was charged with Aggravated Child Abuse.

After spending less than 2 hours in jail, Kenrick was released on $10,000 bond.

Department of Children and Families in still investigating.