PENSACOLA, FL (Gray News) - Maranda Lyn Mixson thought her 2-year-old daughter just needed treatment for ringworm when she took her to Sacred Heart Hospital last month.
Deputies said Andrew Bennett Ross Celaius tortured the girl by throwing bottles of milk, sometimes completely full, at her as she slept. (Source: Escambia County Sheriff's Office)
But doctors knew what they were looking at wasn’t consistent with ringworm. They were actually burns, WEAR reported.
Hospital personnel alerted the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office who launched a child abuse investigation, which yielded three arrests.
Andrew Bennett Ross Celaius faces the bulk of the charges. Deputies said the 37-year-old tortured the girl by throwing bottles of milk, sometimes completely full, at her as she slept.
They said at a press conference Wednesday that he used an overhand motion to hit the child with the milk, causing her to wake up and cry.
Chief Deputy Chip Simmons said Celaius fired an airsoft gun at the sleeping girl, “for no other reason but to wake the child up and to hurt the child."
Shock collars are typically used to train dogs. Deputies said Celaius used one to torment the little girl.
“You can hear the sounds of the dog collar being activated, and then the shrieking and the pain that the child has suffered as a result of this,” Simmons said.
The burn marks were said to have been caused by a small torch.
As if the physical abuse wasn’t traumatic enough, Simmons said Celaius performed these acts while wearing a werewolf mask.
He was charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse, four counts of child abuse, violating probation, possession of a weapon and several drug-related charges.
Back in 2006, Celaius was charged with the murder of 2-year-old Kyler Janes, who had been hospitalized with bruises covering his body and bleeding in his brain and eyes.
A jury found him not guilty, WKRG reported.
Wednesday night, authorities found Celaius hanging by the neck in his jail cell, WEAR reported. He survived, but his condition is not known.
Before attempting to take his life, deputies said Celaius directed 36-year-old Eric Everett Furnans to destroy cellphones that stored images of the abuse. Furnans has since been arrested and charged.
Mixson was arrested and charged with neglect early last month, but has since bonded out. Investigators do not believe she had any involvement or knowledge of her daughter’s abuse.
“The mother began to notice marks on the child and she didn’t know what the marks were about,” Sheriff David Morgan said. “The mother did take the child for medical treatment”
Morgan said Mixson has been cooperating with law enforcement the entire time.
“The report we got back from our investigators, when she was allowed to view some of the material, not all of the material but some of the material, her reaction was more than appropriate,” Morgan explained. “I think it’s obvious to the investigators that she was unaware of this.”
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