OCALA - An investigate summary compiled by the Department of Children and Families in the days following Faith J. Ray’s death indicates the 2-year-old sustained a severe beating, possibly over a long period of time, before being admitted to the hospital last December with fatal injuries.
The DCF summary cites a medical examiner’s findings that Faith suffered 20 points of blunt-force trauma to the head and 40 points of blunt-force trauma to the torso and extremities.
“While the mother has no diagnosed mental health issue to the knowledge of DCF, the manner in which she beat the child, over taking another child’s toy, was excessive and unreasonable and demonstrative of emotional instability,” the DCF report states.
On Tuesday evening, Violet L. Ray, Faith’s 35-year-old adoptive mother, was arrested at the conclusion of a court hearing over termination of parental rights and taken to the Marion County Jail. She has been charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child neglect.
She and her husband, Joseph, have five other adopted children, ranging in age from 1 to 7. The children are in foster care, although they were initially placed under the immediate care of their grandparents following Faith’s death.
Faith’s maternal grandmother, Jeanette Hamblin, is cited in the DCF report as being aware that her daughter, Violet Ray, spanked the child. She is quoted as once having told her daughter, “You can’t hit a baby like that.” The report also mentions that Hamblin gave investigators “contradictory statements indicating that Faith was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”
It says the Hamblins frequently acted in a caregiver role to the children, yet did nothing to report the alleged abuse of Faith, the second-youngest child.
"It is not reasonable to believe that they did not have knowledge of the physical abuse yet they continued to leave the child in the care of Violet Ray," the report states.
The report concludes Violet Ray was "an inappropriate caregiver to any child."
"Based on her actions, she poses a threat to any child in her care and Joe Ray poses a threat in failing to protect any child in his care,” states the report.
It did not reveal any findings of sexual abuse, although Faith showed signs of vaginal tearing.
“This is believed to be caused by the physical abuse of her by her mother,” the report states.
Contact Suevon Lee at 867-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org