Baby's cousin charged with child abuse, neglect

Woman told police 7-month-old with broken limbs fell down stairs

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Nearly five months after a baby girl was injured while being watched by a relative, the woman was arrested and charged with aggravated child abuse and child neglect, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

When 7-month-old Belle Baker was brought to Wolfson Children's Hospital on Oct. 18. Terrvahnda Rock, 23, told the doctors the girl had fallen down the stairs.

Belle was put in intensive care due to multiple injuries. She had brain swelling, both legs and arms were broken, her collar bone was fractured and she had bruises on her face.

When an investigators with the Child Protection Team determined the injuries were inconsistent with a fall down the stairs, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office began an investigation. 

Belle's parents said they left their baby with Rock, the wife's cousin, to watch for a few days, and then got a call that the little girl was in the hospital.

The mother, Ashley Ervin, said she is relieved that her cousin was finally charged with a crime.

"I don't think it was an accident. Not falling down those steps and how her bones were broken. It wasn't an accident," Ervin said. "My baby went through a lot of trauma."

According to the initial police report, a baby seat made out of plastic was in the Rock's hallway in front of the stairs with a small, soft child's toy. Rock told police Belle possibly pulled herself to the stairway by sliding across the tile floor and then climbed on the child seat and fell down the stairs with the seat.

When arrested Feb. 26, she denied causing any injuries to Belle, according to the report.

"It's a relief knowing that she can't do this to no one else's kids," Ervin said. "I grew up with her. I used to go to her house sometimes for weeks. I never thought she would do something like this."

Ervin remains frustrated that she didn't find out about Rock's arrest until Tuesday -- more than three weeks later. But she is focused on her now 1-year-old daughter's recovery.

"She walks," Ervin said. "She may dry drag her feet a little, but I'm just very glad that she's walking because they didn't know. Nobody was expecting for her to walk or talk again because of the trauma."

Ervin said Belle will be going to rehab next month and she won't trust anyone to watch her daughter again other than her mother and grandmother.

Rock has posted bail and is out of jail. She is due in court next week on the abuse and neglect charges.