Published on April 16th, 2013 | by Daniel Perlman0
Father charged in daughter’s death out on bond
Kenneth Stoddard, who is charged with child abuse in his daughter’s death, is out of jail on bond.
Under conditions of his $50,000 surety bond, Kenneth Stoddard, 35, cannot leave Sarasota or Manatee counties and must stay at his mother’s house.
His daughter Melissa Stoddard, 11, died Dec. 17 from lack of oxygen to the brain.
Misty Stoddard, Melissa’s stepmother who is facing the same aggravated child abuse with great bodily harm charge as her husband, is still lodged in the Sarasota County Jail and waiting for her trial date.
His jury trial is scheduled for July 1 in Sarasota County Circuit Court.
Melissa, 11, a student at Oak Park School, had been an autistic child who suffered at the hands of her care-givers, prosecutors allege.
Authorities said she had been tied to and forced to sleep on a plywood board, her mouth duct taped shut. Doctors found ligature marks on the girl’s upper arms, wrists, ankles and thighs.
Melissa lost 40 pounds over a three-month period and sometimes ate on a blanket in what was dubbed the corral, a fenced area outside the family’s Sarasota County house.
But Misty Stoddard’s defense denied the allegations during a hearing in January.
Attorney David Taylor had said Melissa lost so much weight because of her mental health problems, not the Stoddards withholding food.
Melissa had moved from North Carolina, where she had lived with her biological mother, to Sarasota County to stay with her father and stepmother, Misty Stoddard, 36. The Stoddards had five children in the house and Misty Stoddard is now pregnant with a sixth.
The five children were placed in foster care.
The condition of Kenneth Stoddard’s release is that he cannot have an unsupervised visits with children who are under 18 and no contact with children involved in the case without a judge’s order.
“There appears to be extensive evidence that Melissa was being tortured, ridiculed and isolated for at least several weeks before she died,” said a medical document that was included in the Sarasota Circuit Court records.
“This was emotionally abusive to both Melissa as well as the other children in the home who had to witness her horrible maltreatment.”
Source: heraldtribune.com “Father charged in daughter’s death out on bond,” April 16, 2013.