Belleview mom arrested in death of adopted girl

Date: 2009-04-07

Austin L. Miller

OCALA - Violet Love Ray, 35, of Belleview, was arrested Tuesday evening on charges of first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect in connection with the death of her 2-year-old adopted daughter.

The victim, Faith J. Ray, was one of Ray's six adopted children, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Faith had been taken to Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala on Dec. 6 and flown to Shands at the University of Florida in Gainesville. An emergency room doctor told sheriff's investigators Faith had a brain bleed, which was life-threatening, as well as bruising on her arms, chest and legs.

The girl died at Shands on Dec. 8, and the Medical Examiner's Office determined the death was a homicide. Sheriff's Maj. Chris Blair said a county grand jury indicted Ray on March 6, and the indictment was sealed.

On Tuesday, sheriff's detectives Rhonda Stroup and Mark Peavy went to the Marion County Courthouse for a Department of Children and Families hearing involving Ray's parental rights for the other five children. DCF has had custody of them since Faith's death.

At the end of the hearing, the detectives arrested Ray. Stroup said that, once the handcuffs were placed on her, the woman fell to the floor. Detectives immediately called for medical assistance.

Emergency medical officials arrived, checked her vital signs and found her to be in good health; and Ray refused treatment, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Ray was taken to the Marion County Jail, booked in a 7 p.m. and held without bond. As she was led to the jail, Ray, who was wearing a black coat and no shoes, offered no comment and held her head down.

The Sheriff's Office first became aware of the case at 9:18 p.m. Dec. 5, when a deputy went to 10694 S.E. 90th Court after a 9-1-1 hangup. Ray reportedly told the deputy one of the kids must have called after getting scared because Faith had slipped and fallen on the kitchen floor.

The baby appeared to be asleep and was wrapped in blankets in her grandfather's arms, according the report. The deputy saw no injuries to her head but offered to call an ambulance and urged that the child be taken to the hospital.

According to the report, family members indicated they were going to take her right away. But they apparently waited until the following morning and called for an ambulance at 4:38 a.m., when Faith had stopped breathing


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