Okeechobee woman arrested on felony child abuse and neglect charges

OKEECHOBEE, Fla. - Okeechobee County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested a woman on felony charges of child abuse and neglect after her child was found with a bruised forehead, two black eyes and several other injuries.

According to a release from the sheriff's office, a video was discovered that showed Jessica Dawn Martin repeatedly beating and hitting her child on the head with a ruler type instrument. Deputies say Martin was also verbally abusive to the child in the video. Deputies believe the video was taken some time between March 1st and May 15th.

On May 16th, DCF workers, who received an anonymous tip of child abuse at Martin's home, took the child to the doctor.  The physician found "multiple, unexplained bruises, blood in the eye whites, black eyes, bruised forehead, fingertip bruises on both of the child's thighs and scratches to his calves." The doctor told investigators the injuries were consistent with child abuse. The child was treated for his injuries and placed in DCF custody.

The report from the sheriff's office does not say how the video of Martin beating the child was obtained.

When investigators spoke with the boy, he told them he had hit his head on a table a couple of days earlier. When deputies asked Martin why, if her child had accidentally hit his head, she did not take him to the doctor, she stated she was afraid that the doctor would assume the boy had been abused.

Martin faces felony child abuse and felony neglect charges.


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