According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, two Davenport parents and the uncle of a 2-year-old girl were taken into custody Wednesday. The 2-year-old was starved to death, according to reports.
Regis Johnson (57) and Rhonda Tillman (35) were both taken into custody at the Polk County Jail on Wednesday. Both of them were charged with one count each of negligent child abuse causing serious harm and the uncle Frank Robinson (64) was also taken into custody.
Grady Judd, Polk County Sheriff stated that the toddler died of long-term hunger. She was found dead in Johnson’s inflatable playpen. The victim was unresponsive after the suspect placed an unresponsive child call on Tuesday.
The police chief Judd described this girl as “bones and skin” and it was heartbreaking watching.
Regis Johnson (57), and Rhonda Tillman (35) are being charged in connection with the death of their child.
Deputies allege Johnson claimed that doctors believed Johnson’s child might have had a genetic link to her mother with muscular dystrophy. After she was tested, however, it was found that the diagnosis was not conclusive.
The toddler’s pediatrician said that her last doctor’s visit was in August 2021. However, she had her 6-month checkup in January 2020. The medical office tried to contact her parents several times, but neither of them responded.
Judd said, “You gasped when this child was seen.” Judd continued, “Well, I can assure you, as a Christian, the only thing that I have found out about this entire situation is that the child isn’t starving or sick anymore. She is safe in Jesus’ arms. ”
Judd said that the girl, born July 25, 2019, should’ve weighed 32 pounds at her age. She was actually only 9.5 lbs when she died.
Judd said that the baby should be talking, linking sentences, and asking questions.
Judd states that Polk County detectives found that the Department of Children and Families had opened a medical neglect investigation into the girl’s situation in December 2019. It was closed after several weight checks.
According to the sheriff’s department, Robinson, Johnson’s brother was at the house and had knowledge of the abuse but didn’t report it.
Johnson and Tillman face additional charges, including murder. Judd called it “appropriate.”
Judd stated additional medical work and an extensive investigation by sheriff’s departments, as well as a reexamination of DCF, must be completed before additional charges can be brought.
“So, we are charging them with aggravated cruelty to children today and asking for high bails until we complete our investigation. Judd said that the medical examiner would not determine the cause of death until all investigations have been completed. It is clear to us that it was long-term hunger.”
You can watch the press conference below: