Couple arrested on child abuse, neglect charges after toddler hospitalized

By: Fletcher Keel | WCTV Eyewitness News
Updated - May 8, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Leon County Sheriff's Office has arrested two people on neglect and abuse charges after a 2-year-old was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries.

Around 11 a.m. on Monday, deputies were dispatched to a house in the 4700 block of Crossway Court in reference to a possible child abuse case.

Officials say after arriving on scene, they were advised that the toddler needed to be transported to the emergency room. The child's mother, 26-year-old Heather Reid, told deputies the toddler sustained her injuries by falling. Officials say, however, the injuries observed were not consistent with a fall.

The arrest report states that the toddler suffered a liver laceration, two brain bleeds, retinal hemorrhaging believed to be caused by Shaken Baby Syndrome, an ulcer from severe diaper rash, burn marks and multiple abrasions, bruises and scratches. Hospital staff also observed several injuries that appeared to be older and in various stages of healing.

Special Victims Unit detectives were called to the hospital to continue the investigation, where probable cause was established for the arrest of Reid, as well as her live-in boyfriend, 23-year-old Clayton Pafford.

According to arrest documents, Pafford had been watching the child as the mother was at the store. A friend who was also at the home at the time of the incident.

The friend said that he was outside doing laundry when he heard a thud come from inside the child's bedroom. When he walked in, he told deputies he saw Pafford holding the toddler's bloody, limp body.

The friend told deputies he asked Pafford, "What did you do?" and Pafford immediately began calling the child's mother instead of medical help. The friend claims Pafford told him not to call 911 and when he did, while Pafford was on the phone with Reid, Pafford became upset and said, "I'm leaving. Don't tell anyone I was here."

Pafford left the scene before first responders arrived. LCSO deputies, along with members of the U.S. Marshals Violent Task Force and the Florida Highway Patrol, conducted an all-night search for him.

Deputies say around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, a member of LCSO's SPIDER Unit and FHP troopers observed Pafford driving a vehicle on Back Forrest Road. A traffic stop was initiated on the vehicle, but Pafford allegedly refused to stop.

Stop sticks were laid out in the southbound lane of Old Woodville Highway in an attempt to stop Pafford, but he swerved out of the way near the direction of a deputy. Authorities say troopers took the lead in the pursuit and utilized a Pursuit Intervention Technique to stop Pafford's vehicle.

According to arrest documents, Pafford did not comply with the commands of law enforcement to surrender and a LCSO K9 was used to assist deputies in taking him in to custody.

Officials say a passenger was in the vehicle, but Pafford refused to let them out as he was fleeing from authorities.

Pafford was treated at a local hospital before being taken to the Leon County Detention Facility. Pafford is facing two counts of aggravated child abuse, fleeing and eluding, resisting arrest with violence, injuring a police dog, false imprisonment and aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

Reid is also at the Leon County Detention Facility, facing two counts of child neglect with great bodily harm.

According to arrest documents, both Reid and Pafford admitted to noticing the child's injuries and failing to report them. Deputies say Pafford denied causing the child's injuries, but did admit to fleeing the scene even as the child was having a medical emergency.

Officials say the toddler is still being treated for injuries.

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