Mom Charged With Abusing Adopted Kid
Woman Investigated Twice Before For Child Abuse
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Authorities are now investigating why a child was placed with an adoptive mother who has been accused of child abuse twice before.
Deputies on Monday charged Deidra Harris, 28, with aggravated child abuse with a weapon. They said she severely abused her adopted child and someone at the child's school spotted the child's injuries. Deputies said she beat the boy with his own belt.
According to public records, on Monday, the boy's school called police after they noticed "deep purple bruises" all over his body, marks that came from a "belt buckle" and "two lacerations" on his head.
Harris gave a written statement that said she "hit him with his belt" but denied hitting his head.
When asked what happened, the little boy said "That's a lie... Mommy hit me" and pointed to "his legs, his back and head."
"When it is an adoptive parent or foster parent, when it is somebody who has sought out a relationship with the child who has already been victimized by abuse, it's even more so troubling for us," said Department of Children and Families spokesperson Carrie Hoeppner.
Hoeppner said this is the first allegation of abuse between Harris and this child, but DCF investigated Harris twice before for child abuse. Now, DCF is investigating why Family Services of Metro Orlando placed the child in the home and allowed Harris to adopt him.
A Family Services spokesman said prior accusations would not automatically disqualify someone from being a foster or adoptive parent and that Harris passed all background checks.
"The kid seemed happy," said a woman who used to be neighbors with Harris. "Every time I saw him he was happy."
The neighbor said Harris' adopted boy played with her daughter and that the boy is 4 years old.
Authorities said Harris adopted the child after fostering him since he was 7 months old. The little boy is now in DCF care and a judge has already ordered that Harris cannot have any unsupervised visits with him. Now, he could lose the only mother he's ever known.