Badly beaten 5-year-old dies in Florida, officials say; mom, boyfriend arrested

The Florida Department of Children and Families has confirmed the death of a 5-year-old girl who was badly beaten in a Jacksonville home.

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ActionNewsJax reported Friday that sources said the girl was on life support after an extreme case of abuse in a home at the Oak Tree Apartments.

>> On ActionNewsJax.com: Child dies following incident at Oak Tree Apartments, DCF says

The child's grandmother told ActionNewsJax reporter Ryan Nelson that the child's mother, Michelle Cannimore, is behind bars, and so is her current boyfriend, Jonte Harris.

Cannimore is charged with child neglect and child abuse with intentional infliction of physical or mental injury. Harris is charged with aggravated battery on a child using a deadly weapon.

Neighbors said they feared abuse may have been present in the home. They said they could hear screams coming from the home.

“I told [detectives] the same thing I'm telling you,” said one neighbor. "That I would hear that, and I was like, ‘What's going on?’”

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ActionNewsJax obtained a statement from DCF Interim Secretary Rebecca Kapusta:

“I am absolutely horrified and disgusted at the abuse this child endured in her short life. That anyone would hurt an innocent child is shameful and DCF will work closely with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to hold anyone responsible for her abuse fully accountable under the law.

"There are not sufficient words to describe the pain those who loved her are feeling right now, but the department will continue to ensure her sibling is in a safe home and that she receives the highest quality care as she recovers from this loss.”

DCF also said the family has a history with the welfare system.

“We’d try to go ask if she's alright,” said the neighbor. “She would just open the door for a second. She wouldn't open the door all the way.”

Another woman, who asked that her identity be concealed for her protection, claimed that Cannimore’s personality seemed to change after she began dating Harris.

“She will have her head down,” she said. “And that’s how she would be.”

So far, no murder charges have been filed in the case. ActionNewsJax requested the arrest report from the Sheriff's Office on Friday but has not yet received it.

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