2 Accused Of Lying In Dog Mauling Case

13-Year-Old Recovering From Attack At Shands Medical Center In Gainesville

LAKE CITY, Fla. - Two days after a 13-year-old boy was seriously mauled by a dog that witnesses said could not be located, two people were arrested after deputies said they lied to investigators about the attack.

Ernie Hodson Jr. was attacked about 5:15 p.m. Monday in northwest Columbia County.

Columbia County Sheriff's Office and Animal Control investigators were originally told the boy was riding his bicycle in front of his family's property on Northwest Robson Court when he was attacked by a stray dog or wild cat.

The boy was airlifted to Shands Medical Center in Gainesville with injuries to his scalp, neck, shoulder, chest and bicep. He went through five hours of surgery and remains in serious condition.

Deputies continuing to investigate on Tuesday learned that the boy was not attacked by an unknown animal in front of the family home, but in the kitchen of the home across the street by that family's pit bull.

According to the Sheriff's Office, a dog named Marley attacked Hodson. His father's girlfriend and that woman's mother moved the boy to the porch and told arriving rescuers the boy was attacked outside by an unknown animal.

Deputies said they learned the 13-year-old victim was inside the home belonging to the mother of his father?s girlfriend, 69-year-old Josephine Robson, at the time of the attack.

Authorities said Debra Crisp, 50, told the deputy she originally lied about what happened because she was afraid that she would get in trouble because she was babysitting the boy and felt responsible. Crisp's mother, Robson, said she lied to protect her daughter, according to the Sheriff's Office.

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Robson continued telling her initial story to Channel 4's Jason Law when he reported the story on Tuesday, saying she was inside when she heard screams, and when she got outside, the animal was gone.

"Evidently he was somewhere here in the driveway, because when he dropped the bike, he come up on my front porch," Robson said. "He was still conscious and everything. He walked up to the front porch there, and he says, 'That dog just attacked me.'"

Both were arrested on charges of making false and misleading statements and tampering with evidence, and they were booked into the Columbia County Detention Facility. They were released Wednesday on $7,000 bail.

Robson didn't want to talk at her home Wednesday.

"What's worse is, this poor child had to go through the rabies vaccinations, which we all know is a painful process, so he had to endure more suffering because of their lying," said Sgt. Ed Seifert, of the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

The pit bull was taken into custody by Animal Control officers, who had spent hours Tuesday going door to door in the area looking for witnesses to the incident or any reports of an aggressive animal in the area.

The dog will be euthanized in 10 days.

Hodson's family was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

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