Mother of 2-year-old boy who died at Orlando motel arrested

Merissa Anderson charged with failure to report child abuse, neglect of child

By Sheli Muniz - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - The mother of a toddler who was found unresponsive at an Orange County motel was arrested Friday afternoon, authorities said.

[RELATED: Officials: Boy died from blunt impact]

Merissa Anderson, 23, has been charged with three counts of failure to report child abuse and two counts of neglect of a child. However, at this time no one has been charged for the death of her baby.

According to the Orange County Sheriff's Office, 2-year-old Justin Polk was at the Countryside Inn with Anderson, her boyfriend and two other children when one of the adults called 911 around 9 a.m. Monday to say that Justin was unresponsive.

The incident sparked an investigation into her other two children. According to Anderson's arrest affidavit, some of the children were found with fractured ribs, multiple bruising to the face, body including lungs, bite marks and immunizations were not up to date.

Anderson claimed some of the injuries were rough playing or accidents, but deputies believe it's a sign of neglect.

Still, there are no answers as to what happened to baby Justin. The baby's father was left speechless.

"It's crazy. I can't even describe it, I don't even know," said Justin Polk Senior.

A vigil and a Facebook page call for awareness and answers, but those answers may not come from Anderson who claims to not to know what happened. She told deputies she left her children with her new boyfriend when she left for work. She said, "If he did something he needs to go to jail."

"I trusted him to take care of my children," said Anderson, in an interview with deputies.

The arrest affidavit also said Anderson told deputies she is currently pregnant.

A judge determined Wednesday that the boy's siblings -- a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old -- will remain in Department of Children and Families custody.

Anderson said in court Wednesday that the father of her 3-year-old didn't visit his daughter.

Anderson's bond was set at $80,000.

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