Father accused of violent acts on children

St. Johns County deputies arrest Donald Day on 4 counts of child abuse

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - St. Johns County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a father accused of committing violent acts on his children. 

According to an arrest warrant obtained by News4Jax on Tuesday, Donald Dwight Day, 31, is charged with four counts of child abuse. 

Although portions of the warrant have been redacted because the case involves minors, the warrant states that the abuse happened between 2015 and 2017. 

Warning, readers may find the details in this story disturbing. 

One of the children told detectives that Day would take his anger out on him by beating him. The arrest warrant details him describing one incident in which he was picked up by the throat, shoved into a corner and struck because Day was mad. According to the warrant, that incident happened when the boy had just turned 12. 

The warrant also states Day picked up a female child, threw her over a couch and struck her with a belt because he got mad. 

One of the children told detectives Day would use narcotics in front of him and his siblings. That child also told investigators Day would have one of the children urinate into a bottle so Day could pass a drug test. 

The warrant states there was one occasion in 2015 in Orange Park when someone was sweeping the deck to assist with yard work, and Day struck a child eight times because he didn’t want the child to touch the broomstick. 

According to the warrant, last summer, Day got on top of one of the kids and began striking him multiple times in the head, making the child feel “sleepy.”

In August, detectives said, Day and the children’s mother were in a fight and so she took the children to her parents’ house. Day followed her, then slashed her tires and took the battery out of her car, investigators said.

On one occasion, the warrant said, a girl who had just turned 9 years old started crying after she was hit with a belt so Day duct-taped her mouth and hands to a refrigerator. Deputies said Day then proceeded to strike the child with a belt while she was duct-taped to the refrigerator. The child was then taken to a bedroom where she told detectives that Day held her by her hair and continued to strike her with a belt, according to the warrant.

The warrant said on one occasion, one of the children who was 8 years old at the time brought home a note from his school and Day punched the boy multiple times and he begged Day to stop.

A woman whose name has been redacted from the report told detectives the last time the children stayed with Day, he chased them with a knife. 

Deputies conducted a recorded phone interview with a woman whose name was removed from the warrant. During that interview, she said, “We do things the way we wanted to or the way we should have and these kids deserve better. They still deserve better."

She also said, "Day tries to do the right thing, but nobody’s perfect and nobody handles things the way they should.”

Day was booked Monday into the St. Johns County jail on $40,000 bond. But there's a hold on him from out of Putnam County.

According to court records, Day has multiple prior arrests on probation violation is in Putnam County. Two years ago, he was arrested on a charge of fraud.

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