‘Brutal pattern:’ Mother of boy beaten with mop in Volusia County arrested on dozens of charges

Taylor Schaefer, 28, faces 25 charges

Taylor Schaefer (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – The mother of a 5-year-old boy who was beaten with a mop in Volusia County by her live-in boyfriend has been arrested on dozens of charges, according to the sheriff’s office.

Taylor Schaefer, 28, was arrested Sunday in Pasco County and faces 25 charges stemming from “child neglect, abuse and torture” in the home after being “aware of the abuse, witnessed it and continually failed to intervene or report it,” deputies said. The woman’s boyfriend, 32-year-old Shawn Stone, was arrested in May.

Investigators learned there was a “brutal pattern” of abuse, with video showing the boy’s hands tied behind his back days for hours at a time.

“In one incident, his hands were bound behind his back from 6:43 p.m. one evening until 2:02 p.m. the following day. On another occasion, his legs, feet, arms and torso were bound for at least an hour while Stone stood over him,” sheriff’s officials said. “The cameras also recorded instances of Stone yelling at and kicking the already visibly bruised and injured victim, with Schaefer also entering the picture and telling the victim to stand up straight.”

Deputies also learned the boy was also tied up, kept in a dog cage and punished with no food.

Another child, 9, in the home was also abused by being forced to drink boiling water or sprayed with boiling water and was beaten with other household objects, according to the sheriff’s office. There was a third child, 7, in the home who did not receive proper care for a serious medical condition, officials said.

Schaefer and Stone face dozens of charges after deputies recovered surveillance video showing the abuse and speaking with the victims and other witnesses.

According to the sheriff’s office, Schaefer called law enforcement on May 9 about a bad “gut feeling” she had on the way to an appointment about her live-in boyfriend, Shawn Stone, 32, who was at home with the 5-year-old and another child the couple shared together.

She said she checked video on her phone with a view of the living room and saw Stone standing over her son, who was lying in his bed, and punching the boy in the head, according to deputies.

“They have security footage from inside of the house because the little guy who was being fed just oatmeal and being starved was trying to get into the refrigerator and they were trying to catch him,” Volusia Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.

Deputies said she saw that her son was able to get off the bed but as soon as he did, Stone began to kick him. According to sheriff’s officials, she could hear her son begging for Stone to stop and after a few moments he did, but then grabbed a mop and began striking the boy again.

“You see in (the video) where the little guy has a leg injury, he can’t stand up straight, you can see the burn mark on his back and this scumbag kicks him in the leg, knocks him to the ground, makes him stand up and then punches him to the face,” Chitwood said.

Schaefer told deputies she saw Stone strike her son so hard and often that the head of the mop broke off, investigators said.

Medical professionals determined the child had 46 visible injuries and other internal injuries, including a fractured skull, fractured legs and burn marks.

“You watch it and it churns your stomach to think, ‘How could you do this?’” Chitwood said. “I’m speechless, 36 years in policing and I’m speechless when I watch those videos... Detectives told me this is going to be one of the worst things we’ve ever seen because those cameras captured everything.”

Chitwood went on to say “it’s too good of an ending for (Schaefer and Stone) to rot in their jail cells,” adding the suspects “stole those kids’ futures.”

A GoFundMe account set up for the three children in the home has raised more than $30,000. To donate to the GoFundMe, click here.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.