NewsCovering Florida


2-year-old died weighing 9 lbs., sheriff says

Polk Co. couple arrested on neglect charges
Posted at 12:52 PM, May 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-12 12:52:38-04

DAVENPORT, Fla. — Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says a two-year-old girl was so emaciated, she looked more like a 3-month-old after being starved to death by her parents.

35-year-old Arhonda Tillman and 37-year-old Regis Johnson are charged with neglect. Sheriff Judd said more charges could be filed.

Judd said Johnson called 911 after discovering the child wasn't breathing. The girl was reportedly found by authorities in an inflatable swimming pool being used as a playpen.

During an interview, Tillman reportedly said she would have called for help earlier, but had been busy.

"Regis Johnson told us the baby ate a sandwich ... and some chicken nuggets," Judd said at a briefing Thursday, but there was no food in the child's stomach upon medical examination.

The sheriff added that there was adequate food in the house and the adults appeared well-fed.

Judd says records show the baby was born healthy in 2019 with a birth weight of 6 pounds, 10 ounces. When the child was found dead this week, she weighed only 9 pounds.

"Basically it was just bones and skin," Judd said of the child. "Did no one else see this child in this condition?"

Tillman told investigators she is four months pregnant with another child.

The sheriff said the investigation into the child's death is ongoing, including looking at previous inspections by the Department of Children & Families.