Sheriff: Polk County couple charged with child neglect, manslaughter after death of 3-year-old boy

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A couple from Bartow are charged with child neglect and aggravated manslaughter after the death of a 3-year-old boy.


Polk County deputies said 24-year-old Takesha Williams and 25-year-old Efrem Allen, Jr. were both arrested after the death of the child.

Deputies said they were called to a home on Golfview Avenue on May 12 where they found the boy unresponsive and connected to a breathing machine.

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He wasn’t breathing and had a severely bloated belly and numerous open sores, according to a report.

The boy was placed on the breathing machine following a near-drowning incident at a vacation home in 2020.

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Deputies said a home health nurse had been helping to look after the boy, but had stopped coming over the last month due to a change in health insurance.

Deputies said Williams and Allen had been in charge of the boy’s care but failed to report the boy’s deteriorating health.

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Despite noticing the severe sores developing over the boy’s body, the couple failed to get medical help because they were afraid they would have their children taken away by DCF, deputies said.

“I’ve seen some truly horrific events in my long law enforcement career, but I have never, ever seen anything as sad, as bone-chilling, and as sickening as what this baby suffered before finally perishing from the despicable acts of these two criminals,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

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