A married couple that runs an unlicensed babysitting business out of their home has been arrested, after a 3-year-old girl with many, many injuries died in their care, according to police.
The girl's exact cause of death isn't known, but police say 27-year-old Ryan Reed admitted to abusing the girl, and his wife, 28-year-old Allison Clement, knew that the abuse was happening, yet didn't do anything about it.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, 3-year-old Savannah Cross died yesterday morning, and had sustained "extensive trauma to include deep tissue bruising, pattern bruising, swelling and abrasions from head to toe, front to back."
"The medical staff described the bruises as 'too many to count,'" a probable-cause statement says. "These bruises appeared to be in different stages of healing, and could not have been caused by a single traumatic event."
One of the girl's eyes also had significant injuries, which police say likely caused a permanent loss of vision.
Clement and Reed told police they had been babysitting this girl since July, but had been watching her full-time since November 23. When asked why the girl had been left with babysitters for so long, Phoenix police Sergeant Crent Crump tells New Times that the girl's mother "needed the help." The mother would show up at the house occassionally to pay Clement and Reed, he says.
Clement first told investigators that the girl got injuries because the girl would often fall or run into things, but eventually told police that "she was protecting Reed," according to the documents.
She said Reed would grab the girl, slap her, and even sit on her legs.
Clement didn't seek medical attention for the girl at any point, according to court documents, nor did she report any of these things to the authorities.
Reed told police that he would "discipline" the girl -- usually by smacking her, or flicking her with his finger.
"He said that at least some of her visible bruising injuries had been caused in this manner," a probable-cause statement reads. "Reed added that his disciplining of Savannah at times was 'excessive.'"
Reed said he'd seen the girl's eye apparently get worse, but didn't say he had anything to do with it -- nor did he seek medical attention for her. Reed also compared her eye "to the progressive blindness of a pet dog he once had," court documents note.
Reed also told police of an incident that occurred Monday evening. Reed said the girl was on the floor, and he accidentally tripped on her while trying to walk over her, as he "inadvertently kicked" her with his first foot, and "stomped" her in the abdomen with his second, according to the documents.
"The victim immediately curled up with her arms around her abdomen and spent the rest of the evening in this posture," according to the probable-cause statement. "Reed said that he ultimately picked her up and placed her in her playpen that evening and heard her making groaning sounds throughout the night."
Again, police say Reed did not seek medical attention for the girl, and instead found her unresponsive at their house -- on the 5400 block of South 45th Street -- the next morning.
The girl's mother told police that when she dropped off her child with Reed and Clement on November 23, her daughter had only "minor bumps and bruises." Her eye was also fine, according to the girl's mother.
Clement and Reed were both booked on child-abuse charges, although Crump says additional charges may be filed once the medical examiner's report is completed.
Reed's bond was set at $1 million, and Clement's was set at $375,000.
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