A neighbor is credited with saving a 10-year-old girl and her 6-month-old brother from years of child abuse.
William and Suzanne Frederick are being charged with child abuse and neglect after they forced their 10-year-old daughter to run about 30 laps a day without water and stand on one leg while holding a 5 pound weight for hours at a time.
According to Michael Dunn, the Public Information Officer for the Temple Terrace Police Department, that was not the only abuse that occurred. The girl was forced to sleep on the floor, without a mattress, and had been forced to do up to 50 push ups as a punishment. When the little boy “cried too much,” he was put in a closet. The boy also slept in the unventilated closet in his playpen.
On Tuesday night, neighbor David Cooper was returning home to his Doral Oaks apartment complex when he saw a little girl walking around alone and barefoot in the rain. When he approached her and asked if she needed help, she told him that she was homeless and her parents might be dead. Cooper called 911.
Before the police arrived, the girl’s parents came looking for their daughter. He gave her to them, but was concerned when they grabbed her roughly and walked her through puddles to take her home. “I didn’t like the way they had her,” he said. When police arrived, he took them to the Frederick’s apartment where they found troubling conditions, including the girl’s baby brother in a closet.
According to police, the parents left the girl to watch her brother that afternoon while they went shopping. They returned at 5pm, and became angry when the girl told them she had not fed her brother. They told her she would be punished. The little girl set fire to a styrofoam cooler out of frustration and left the apartment. When her parents discovered the fire, they put it out but did not call the fire department. The girl was not discovered by Cooper until 8pm — three hours later.
Police arrested the couple along with their roommate, Richard Quesenberry, who lied to police by telling them that he had been watching the children that afternoon. Quesenberry is being charged with providing false information. In addition to the child abuse and neglect charges, Williams Frederick is being charged with failure to report a fire.
They are currently being held without bail at the Hillsborough County Jail. The children are in the care of The Department of Children and Family.
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