DAVENPORT, Fla. -- A Davenport couple has been arrested in the death of the woman's 2-year-old son, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Shannon Short, 26, and her boyfriend Christian Thompson, 26, are accused of abusing and neglecting Short's son Harley Hiatt, Jr.
According to the sheriff's office, the abuse started about two months ago and would occur while Harley was in the care of Thompson. The first incident occurred sometime in May after the couple moved in together when Short texted Thompson, telling him to "mess" Harley up after the child broke a plate. Judd said during a news conference Thompson started to recorded the injuries and would send images via text message to Short, "so that it wouldn't look like they were beating him."
One video the sheriff's office obtained shows Harley "trembling" with fear, Sheriff Judd described during the press conference. Other photos show Harley with bruises and scratches on his face and patches of hair missing from his head. Sheriff Judd described times when Harley would cling to his mother as she got ready for work because he was frightened of Thompson. Sheriff Judd said Short neglected to care for her child's injuries by seeking medical attention, for in fear of being reported to Child Protection Services. According to the affidavit, Short eventually called 911 on July 31 once her son became unresponsive.
The child was transported to Heart of Florida Hospital where it was determined he had a brain bleed and died a few hours later. According to the affidavit, Harley suffered other injuries including blunt force trauma and a mutilated penis. Short has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, negligent child abuse with great bodily harm, child abuse, failure to report child abuse, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia.
Thompson has been charged with first degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, aggravated child abuse, negligent child abuse, possession of marijuana, and possession of paraphernalia.
The child would have turned 3-years-old in October, officials said.
"When you hear what this precious baby boy was put through, it's sickening. His mother knew about the abuse, allowed it, and continued to leave him in the care of his abuser. She and her boyfriend even joked about it. The whole thing is heartbreaking, and I don't think it's possible for me to be more disgusted by their actions," Sheriff Grady Judd said.
According to the sheriff's office, both Short and Thompson have a criminal history and both have other children that live with family members.