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Deputies: Lake City mother arrested after beating child with clothes hanger

Sierra Stockton, 30, faces charge of child abuse

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – A Lake City woman was arrested Monday after she beat her child with a clothes hanger, then tried to strangle her, the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said.

Sierra Stockton is charged with first-degree felony child abuse. 

Deputies said Stockton, 30, beat her daughter, who's a student at Melrose Park Elementary, in their living room Friday after learning the child was acting out at school. 

The mother of two told the child, "I'm about to beat you like you're grown," the arrest report said. 

According to the report, the child was able to break away, running to a relative's house down the road.

But when the child returned home, deputies said, Stockton grabbed the child's feet, dragged her across the floor, beat her with a clothes hanger and choked her -- only stopping when Stockton's girlfriend stepped in. 

"Spanking is one thing. I can understand a few hits on the leg or something like that, but this child was strangled to the point where she couldn't breathe," said Gil Smith, News4Jax crime and safety analyst. "That's obviously going too far especially if you are leaving marks and bruises."

According to the report, when the child returned to school Monday, a staff member noticed she was bruised and contact authorities.

Smith said that's all evidence that will mount against Stockton. 

"You have actual bruises on the child, and the child came in and told the story to (her) teacher," Smith said. "So you have the testimony, witnesses that were there and you even have the mother to some degree admitting to striking the child. So when you add them, that physical evidence is going to be very tough."

Stockton told investigators that she slapped her daughter in the face, but denied hitting her with a hanger or trying to strangle her, the Sheriff's Office said.

She was then arrested at the school and booked into jail on $55,000 bond.  

Stockton's two children were placed in the custody of a child protection team to be later handed over to a relative.