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2nd arrest made in death of Sarasota girl

2nd arrest made in death of Sarasota girl

By FOX 4 Staff. CREATED Dec 21, 2012

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office made a second arrest in connection with the death of a 11-year-old autistic girl.

35-year-old Misty Stoddard was arrested for abusing her step-daughter, Melissa Stoddard, who died on Monday.  The victim's father, Ken Stoddard was arrested on Wednesday.

The medical examiner says the 11-year-old died from hypoxia, which is caused by oxygen deprivation.  Doctors who tried to save her life on December 12th found she had severe brain damage, ligature marks and lacerations on several parts of her body.

The victim’s father how he and Misty “restrained” Melissa, who has autism, and claimed it was to protect her from hurting herself or her siblings. Other children in the home explained that Melissa was frequently tied up and her mouth was covered with tape to keep her quiet. 

A total of five children taken from the home are in protective custody with the Department of Children and Families. Both Stoddards are charged with Aggravated Child Abuse with Great Bodily Harm and are being held without bond.