A 25-year-old man was arrested Thursday in the killing of a toddler, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said.
Travis Ray Thompson was arrested on charges of first-degree murder while engaged in aggravated child abuse.
Investigators said that on May 3, AdventHealth Waterman in Tavares reported a toddler arriving at the hospital in critical condition. The child later died.
Deputies said Thompson physically abused the toddler while she was in his care, which resulted in her spine being completely severed.
Thompson claimed that he and the victim were in separate rooms when he heard a loud noise and discovered her in an unresponsive state, taking shallow breaths, investigators said.
Detectives said Thompson did not call 911 and waited for the victim’s mother to arrive 30 minutes later before driving the toddler the hospital.
While driving to the hospital, the victim’s mother told Thompson to call 911 when she realized the victim had stopped breathing altogether, investigators said.
The Medical Examiner’s Office on Sept. 1 determined the cause of death as traumatic injuries to the victim’s torso and internal bleeding behind her organs.
Because of the severity and the nature of the injuries, it was determined that Thompson applied significant, gradual force to the victim’s body, officials ruled.
On Sept. 8, Thompson was taken into custody to be questioned again.
When questioned about the findings of the investigation, Thompson still claimed that he did not know how or why the victim was killed, investigators said.
Thompson was booked to the Marion County Jail, where he is being held without bail.
He is also on probation for failure to comply with an injunction to prevent child abuse.