‘Acts of torture.’ Bradenton couple charged with abusing 3-year-old child, sheriff says

A Bradenton man and woman are facing charges in connection with a child abuse case investigators described as “acts of torture.”

Timothy Lyle Florey, 26, is charged with aggravated child abuse after detectives say he repeatedly beat a 3-year-old child for wetting herself and locked her in a closet as punishment while the child’s mother did nothing to stop the abuse.

If 29-year-old Brooke Taylor Schaetzl had taken “appropriate action,” investigators say the child “would not have endured at least three days of physical abuse.”

Court records show Schaetzl, who detectives described as “uncooperative,” is charged with child neglect.

Attorneys for Florey and Schaetzl did not immediately respond to the Bradenton Herald for comment.

Deputies with the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office say they responded to a call in March after hearing a report of a 3-year-old child with bruising on her face.

2 charged in Bradenton abuse investigation

When deputies arrived at the house, they say they were met with a “very uncooperative” Schaetzl who refused to come to the door for nearly 40 minutes before trying to leave out of the back door with the child.

Deputies say they were waiting for Schaetzl at the back door and after talking to her, they discovered Florey fled the home earlier.

Investigators say the child was “covered in bruises” on both eyes, her lower back and her left leg. The child also had bruises and cuts to the left side of her face and was taken by emergency services to a local hospital, according to an arrest report.

Schaetzl said she would “pow pow” or strike her daughter’s face for saying bad words, according to an arrest report. But detectives say it was Florey’s “acts of torture” coupled with Schaetzl’s “failure to act” that caused “significant injury” to the child.

Florey later spoke with detectives, and they say he told them most of the physical punishment was due to the 3-year-old going to the bathroom in her pants. He said the child was also punished for crying too often, according to an arrest record.

Investigators say Florey told them he would discipline the child by using an open hand and spanking her, but when asked to demonstrate on a stuffed animal, they say that amount of force would not have caused the child’s serious injuries.

A ‘terrible situation,’ Manatee deputies say

Florey told detectives that in March, he began locking the child in a closet as another form of punishment, according to an arrest report. Schaetzl said Florey chose that punishment because he knew the girl was afraid of the dark, the sheriff’s office said.

While in the closet, Florey told investigators the child would “scream, cry and make attempts to crawl out” according to an arrest report.

Schaetzl told detectives at one point Florey asked her to leave the room, when she continued to hear screaming and crying but “would not interfere.”

When asked how long the child was in the closet, detectives said Schaetzl told them “a couple of minutes” but added that her daughter urinated on herself while in the closet.

While bathing her afterward, detectives said Schaetzl observed “extensive” bruising to her daughter’s legs but made no attempts to seek medical attention or remove her from the “terrible situation.”

Detectives said Schaetzl told them she noticed the acts of child abuse in March but made no attempts to leave the residence because she was afraid of Florey.

But in an interview with detectives, Schaetzl said Florey never threatened her with violence and that she had the freedom to leave the house alone. Investigators said Schaetzl failed to seek proper treatment for her daughter’s injuries or remove her from a “very dangerous environment.”

Both Florey and Schaetzl remain in custody, according to court records.

Florey is expected to appear in court on July 17 for a hearing, while Schaetzl has a hearing scheduled for Aug. 14, according to court records.