Toddler Given Bleach in Bottle to Drink; Rescued by Cops and Mother Arrested in Florida

Authorities say a mother in Florida fed her daughter bleach in a bottle. A mother in Tampa, Florida, who was living in a shed without electricity and feeding her 13-month-old baby bleach in a bottle was arrested on Monday.

Melissa Barnes, 22, is charged by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office with child abuse and child neglect.

A family member of Barnes told the sheriff’s office on January 2, 2024, that Barnes had given her 13-month-old daughter a bottle with bleach in it.

Authorities were told by a family member that Barnes and the child were living in a cold, dirty, and crowded shed that didn’t have power.

According to the sheriff’s office, the family member took the child out of the shed and tried to feed her from the bottle, but the baby wouldn’t drink.

The relative apparently looked inside the bottle and saw that it was full of bleach, according to the sheriff’s office. When asked what was in the bottle, Barnes said she rinsed it with bleach.

The Department of Children and Families took the toddler from Barnes’ care and put her with a family member after the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Special Victims Unit did a full investigation.

The detectives then got a search warrant and went to the shed, where they found paint and bleach-based cleaner, according to the sheriff’s office.

The contents of the bottle were sent to the FBI lab to be looked at more closely. Bleach based on chlorine was found to be present. After getting proof, detectives got a warrant for Barnes’ arrest on May 28 for child abuse and child neglect charges.

The Highlands County Sheriff’s Office arrested her on June 3 and she is still in jail until she is extradited to Hillsborough County at a later date.

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