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Police: Titusville man beats, chokes child

Girl was punished for taking too long to get dressed

Andrew Thomas Alers, 29
Andrew Thomas Alers, 29

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – A 29-year-old Titusville man who police said beat an 8-year-old child with a stick and shoe before choking her because she took too long to get dressed after a pool party, is in jail.

News 6 partner Florida Today reports another person in the home stopped the man just as the child began having trouble breathing, reports show. The child, who had visible bruising, was not seriously injured.

Andrew Thomas Alers  was charged with aggravated child abuse after Titusville police and social workers with the Department of Families and Children were called to a home to investigate reports of a child being injured by an adult, records show.

Officers were called after the man’s girlfriend picked up the child the next day.

Police said Thomas told the woman he had to "spank" the child but that the girl "injured herself doing a ‘cannonball’ dive in the pool." The girlfriend then told the child’s mother that the child had been beaten, reports show.

Later, Thomas pleaded with the mother not to contact DCF and asked for time to gather up bail money, reports show. Police later interviewed the child and her sisters.

Thomas, who reported being upset, later confirmed much of the story with detectives but said he did not strike the child with a stick.

Thomas was booked into the Brevard County Jail Complex and is being held without bond, records show.