ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - The death of a 2-year-old boy from Orlando is being investigated as a "torture case," according to the Orlando Police Department, with the toddler's mother arrested on charges of aggravated manslaughter of a child.
Victoria Toth, 24, was taken into custody after her son, Jayce, was found deceased at the home he shared with his mother and her boyfriend, Johnathan Pursglove.
An Orlando Fire Department unit responded to their home on Bethune Drive on July 18 at approximately 6:32 a.m. in reference to an unresponsive 2-year-old male child. The child was found deceased and in a pool of vomit in the bedroom.
An officer from the Orlando Police Department arrived shortly after the fire unit arrived. The officer observed several concerning signs inside of the bedroom, including a bottle of liquor, a marijuana plant, several fist-size holes in the drywall, and a broken toilet lid and seat.
The officers says that he also observed that Jayce was malnourished and very thin. He had two large bruises on each side of his forehead and several small bruises on the lower portion of his jaw line. He also had bruises on his left thigh and one of his ankles.
The arrest report states that the Orlando police officer spoke with Victoria. She stated that she started to noticed her son acting lethargic and he did not want to play when she returned home from work on January 15th.
The next day when she returned from work, he felt the same but was also vomiting. Victoria's father advised she seek medical attention for Jayce, but she told the officer that she did not end up doing so because she did not want medical personnel to judge her for bringing her son into the emergency room. It was on July 18th that she found Jayce unresponsive in his bedroom.
The arrest report also states that Victoria explained Jayce's bruising by saying that he had awful balance and regularly ran into things. She also said that the holes in the drywall and the broken toilet seat were the result of a previous argument between her and Johnathan months prior.
While speaking with Victoria, the officer noticed that Victoria often referred to her son as a "brat" and stated that he regularly misbehaved and was disciplined at least daily for his failure to listen. However, she said that he was an overall healthy child, that he did not climb on things, and was unable to ride a bike.
Detectives with the Orlando Police Department spoke to Johnathan, who corroborated the symptoms Jayce displayed as described by Victoria. He said he did not seek medical treatment for the child because he felt that nothing could be done for the child. He also admitted to punching the bedroom walls in anger, but stated that the broken toilet seat and lid were caused by him standing on top of the toilet to kill a bug on the ceiling. He advised that some of the bruises on Jayce were caused from accidents on the playground, a fall in the shower, and an incident where he fell while on his balance bike.
Detectives also spoke with Victoria's friend. The report states that her friend observed violence between Johnathan and Victoria. The friend also observed Johnathan disciplining Jayce harshly. She said that during both types of situations, it became so harsh she had to step in.
An autopsy was performed on Jayce. The autopsy and lab results showed that Jayce suffered from blunt force trauma to a concentrated area of the abdomen and subsequently developed Peritonitis, which is usually infectious and often life-threatening. It caused by a leakage or a hole in the intestines, such as from a burst appendix or blunt force, according to the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo Clinic also states that symptoms usually include pain, fever, nausea, and vomiting.
Dr. Hansen reportedly said that the trauma caused onto Jayce was so severe that it caused a perforation in the GI tract, leading to contents of the bowel entering Jayce's body, causing an infection that resulted in his death. Jayce's symptoms of lethargy, loss of appetite, and vomiting are directly associated with said injury. Dr. Hansen also said that an injury so severe would have been caused by someone with a large enough size to generate such force.
The arrest report says that the Dr. Hansen said that with medical attention having been sought, this injury could have been repaired and resulted in a full recovering. The cause of death was ruled a 'homicide.'
The arrest report states that as Jayce's mother and a caregiver, Victoria had a duty to act reasonably towards Jayce, providing him with necessary medical treatment and overall care. She failed to do so and by watching Jayce suffer, she in turn, tortured him.
Probable cause is reported to exist to charge Victoria Toth with Aggravated Manslaughter of a child.