Sheriff: Young child set fire to escape boarded up room

Adults at home face child abuse charges

SPRING HILL, Fla. – A young child who had been locked in a boarded up room set a mattress on fire Monday afternoon in an attempt to escape, sheriff’s officials in Florida said.

Deputies and fire rescue crews found the child when they responded to an arson call near Spring Hill, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Kelley Lynne Davis, 36, and Daniel Andrew Davis, 37, were arrested on aggravated child abuse charges, arrest reports said. They told Hernando County Sheriff's investigators that they have kept the child locked in the room for 11 or 12 hours every night, plus whenever the child misbehaved, since March.

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Their relationship to the child was not released. The agency also didn't release the age or gender of the child, citing Marsy's Law, a constitutional amendment designed to protect victims but that deprives the public of information that had long been available under Florida's public records law. The child's condition also wasn't released.

According to investigators, the room where the fire started had two exterior locks. A board had been screwed over it and the only window was also covered. The ceiling fan in the room was broken and electricity was cut off in the room. The arrest report also said that feces was on the wall and urine was on the floor.

The room was bare except for the mattress and a blanket. the report said. There was no natural light in the room. The report didn't explain how the child started the fire.

The Davises have five daughters, none of whom were treated like the victim was, the report said. The state's Department of Children and Families is assisting the daughters.

An attorney wasn’t listed in court records for the couple.