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Suspect had prior arrest for domestic battery

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The past of Daniel Smith is being investigated after police said he beat his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son with a belt Tuesday evening.

According to Daniel Smith’s arrest report the boy’s brother witnessed the beating and told police Smith became upset because the child was falling asleep in the tub.

Police said this is not the first time Daniel Smith has been arrested for domestic battery; he's also a convicted sexual predator.

Daniel Smith's ex-wife Tiffany Smith filed an injunction for protection against domestic violence with minor children.

Tiffany Smith’s family said they were devastated hearing what happened to this other child and hope Daniel Smith is kept behind bars for a long time.

Stephen Newell, Tiffany Smith’s father said getting away from Daniel Smith couldn’t happen fast enough.

"He tried to push me around. That wasn't happening,” Newell said. “I'm not that easily pushed around by somebody like him. But, we definitely butted heads."

According to the Florida Department of Corrections reports, Smith was arrested for having consensual sex with a 12-year-old girl and served six years in prison for that.

Newell's daughter, Tiffany Smith was with Daniel Smith for a few years once he got out. Newell said Smith began fighting with Tiffany Smith often and he wasn't the only one to notice. He said her young daughter was well aware.

"The baby would come with me for the weekend or whatever for a couple of days and the first thing out of her mouth was, ‘they're fighting and he yells at mommy and I don't like the way he talks to my mommy."’

Eventually the relationship became abusive according to Tiffany Smith and her family and a decision had to be made.

"I'm proud of her for leaving. I know it wasn't easy, but it had to stop. I don't understand it. There's help out there. No woman needs to be abused by any man,” Newell said. “I'm talking, physically, mentally, emotionally, yelled at, screamed at. None of that, none of that is necessary. All of its abuse. But it breaks my heart about that little boy."

Newell said what happened to the 3-year-old child very well could have happened to his granddaughter.

"I honestly feel bad that I'm glad my granddaughter is OK, because that other little boy is not,” Newell said. “I know there's nothing you can do, it's done and it's happened, but my prayers are with the family."

News4Jax has learned from sources that the 3-year-old is continuing to recover.

Smith is in jail on a $1M bond. The Department of Children and Families said everyone should do background checks on anyone before they let them around their children