DeLAND, Fla. - Deputies said that a man who was wanted on child abuse charges after allegedly beating a 3-year-old girl and putting her into an oven turned himself in Thursday.
Volusia County Sheriff's Office detectives began searching for Terry L. May, 45, of DeLand, after officials with the Florida Department of Children and Families called deputies to report a case of child abuse.
Investigators said the girl had extensive injuries, including cuts, swelling on her head, a 6-inch scar on her back and lacerations to her feet, hands and legs. Medical examiners determined that a burn injury to the child's ear was likely caused after May placed the girl in the oven, according to the Sheriff's Office.
On Thursday, the victim met with an investigator with the DCF and said May frequently hit her with a belt.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood is encouraging anyone with information on whom he called the "scumbag of the week" to come forward.
"It just boggles my mind that you would torment and beat and place a kid in the oven," Chitwood said.
News 6 went to May's home on Lenox Court, where toys were scattered on the lawn on Wednesday. His family lives across the street and believes May is innocent, putting all the blame on the child's mother.
"He loves children. He never beat any children or put them in no oven. I don't know why she told that little girl to tell that lie," said Louisa Douglas, May's mother.
Volusia County Sheriff's Office officials said May turned himself in at the Volusia County Branch Jail, where he was being held on $50,000 bail. He was later released after posting a bond.
DCF officials said they are still investigating. It's unclear if the child's mother will face any charges.
Anyone with information is asked to call 386-248-1777 to reach the VCSO Communications Center, or submit an anonymous tip via Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 888-277-TIPS or online at westopcrime.com.
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