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Couple arrested after child hospitalized with skull fracture

Melissa Elias, Jerry Rivera charged with aggravated child abuse, neglect

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An Arlington couple are facing charges of aggravated child abuse and child neglect after a child was hospitalized with a skull fracture, authorities said. 

Melissa Elias and Jerry Rivera, both 26, were arrested early Thursday morning and booked into the Duval County jail.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said it was called Wednesday night to Wolfson Children's Hospital, where doctors were treating a boy with a skull fracture. A doctor told police the child had extensive swelling in the head and scalp, as well as contusions and bruising on the chest, back, neck and behind the ears. There were also facial cuts. The doctors said those injuries did not come from a fall in a bathtub and, if left untreated, could cause the child to die. The child was reportedly in stable condition. 

Police questioned Elias and Rivera. Elias said she knew she needed to take the child to the hospital, but did not at the request of Rivera, according to police. 

Police have not disclosed the age of the child, but Scottie Brown, who lives in the same Fort Caroline apartment complex as the couple, said it often sounded like a small child was running through the couple's apartment, which is directly below his apartment.

"You know how little kids play. You hear a little stumping," Brown said, adding he never saw or heard anything that raised red flags. "I had talked to the female one time and she seemed kind of cool. And the guy, he would speak to you. They showed me good signs."

The Department of Children and Families has been notified of the case. 

As of Friday afternoon, according to online jail records, Elias was being held on $150,000 bond and Rivera was being held on $90,000 bond.  

Both are due in court Feb. 28.


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