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Tavares couple charged with child abuse of young adopted son, 6


A Tavares couple is out of jail on bond after police said the two abused the 6-year-old son they adopted about a year ago.

Mikelann Renwick, 47, and Steven Renwick, 55, face charges of child neglect and aggravated child abuse.

Mikelann Renwick took the boy to Florida Hospital Waterman on Wednesday because he was vomiting. Hospital staffers observed that the boy had several injuries to his head, legs and torso, according to an arrest affidavit filed in the case.

Renwick told nurses that the boy had been drinking a lot of fluids and was frequently incontinent. She also said his injuries had been caused by seizures and falling down stairs at the family's home, according to the affidavit.

The nurses determined that Renwick's explanations about how the boy was injured were inconsistent. They also noticed that the boy's heart rate rose each time she entered the room, so they contacted police, according to Tavares police Capt. Danny Feleccia.

The other three children in the home told police and the Department of Children and Families that they had not seen the boy have seizures. They said their parents complained about the boy's incontinence, punished him more frequently than the other children and forced him to spend most of his time in the family's garage. The boy was not allowed in the main part of the house except for lunch and dinner and slept on blankets in the laundry room with the family's dogs, according to the affidavit.

The children also said the boy had been limited to a diet of just spinach, broccoli and celery.

Renwick homeschooled all the children, Feleccia said. She told police that the boy was being treated by a post-adoption therapist to help him adjust to his new life.

The children said the Renwicks punished them when they were bad by taking away their toys and spanking them with a switch, according to the affidavit. One child said the 6-year-old boy had been spanked at least once until he bled.

Police also observed that the stairs in the house were carpeted and that a fall down them would not have caused any of the boy's injuries, Feleccia said.

The boy was later transported to Arnold Palmer Hospital. He has been determined to be malnourished and have internal injuries that include a lacerated liver, which is consistent with trauma to the body, according to the affidavit.

Tavares police arrested the Renwicks on Friday night. They left the jail early Saturday on bond of $12,000 each, according to Lake County Corrections.

The four Renwick children are currently in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, Feleccia said. All of the children are adopted; three had been adopted at birth.

The Renwicks are scheduled to appear in court Sept. 13.

Another version of this same article includes this:


The boy, who was adopted from foster care about a year ago, told officers that he had been forced to sleep in the utility room and was only allowed to eat certain vegetables, said Tavares police Capt. Danny Feleccia.

2010 Aug 21