DAVENPORT, Fla. - Neidy Mendez-Gudine is facing charges of child abuse and manslaughter after a 13-month-old baby died in her care, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
According to an affidavit, deputies and Polk County Fire Rescue personnel responded to a Davenport residence after getting a call that a 13-month-old boy was unresponsive. Mendez-Gudine said the baby was choking and not breathing.
Mendez-Gudine told Polk County Fire Rescue that she placed the baby on her bed and left the room to care for her other children. She said she went to check on the baby boy about 15 minutes later and he was lying unresponsive on the floor
The baby was airlifted to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando with skull fractures and subdural hemorrhaging. He was declared brain dead and died the next day.
Doctors at the hospital said the baby's injuries were traumatic and not consistent with falling off a bed or falling down. Dr. Vera Volnikh performed an autopsy on the baby and noted subdural hemorrhaging at the top of his skull and spine, and in his neck muscles, consistent with being shaken. According to Volnikh, the baby also had two fractures on his skull. Volnikh said the baby died from head trauma and ruled the manner of death as homicide.
Investigators said that based on the evidence, medical reports, autopsy report, Mendez-Gudine's statements, and the statements provided by the other occupants of the residence, the suspect was the only person with the victim at the time the injuries were inflicted upon him. A witness' statement indicated he thought Mendez threw the victim, investigators said.
“This is the second horrific incident in a matter of weeks where an adult has killed a baby for whom he or she has been charged with caring,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who are suffering these unthinkable losses. We will do everything in our power to ensure this suspect is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that she never has access to children again.”