ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Two young adults in St. Johns County are in jail following a Tuesday morning fight that sent a 3-year-old to the hospital.
The injury was so bad that the child had to be transported from Flagler Hospital to Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital. The 3-year-old suffered an injury to the eye that was so bad, that investigators say the child will likely have permanent disfigurement or a permanent disability.
Shortly after 1 a.m., St. Johns County deputies arrived at a home where they found 22-year-old Destini Austin and 20-year-old Damon Badie had been physically fighting. Deputies said during that violent altercation that involved the repeated use of a Taser, the three-year-old child that was also in the house suffered a cut to the eye.c
News4Jax Crime and Safety Analyst Lakesha Burton is both a former JSO assistant police chief and a parent. She said when adult tempers flare while a child is present, it can be the perfect recipe for something bad to happen to the child.
“That’s I think it’s very important as adults that when we get angry, we must calm ourselves down and always be cognizant of our environment, of our children, and certainly if the argument escalates to physical violence. Adults need to know the children are watching and that they are impacted. The trauma of that can impact them short and long-term,” Burton said.
What sparked the fight remains unclear. It’s also unclear if Austin and Badie are both the parents of the 3-year-old that was injured. They were both charged with child neglect resulting in great bodily harm. They were also charged with aggravated battery. Court records show Austin was recently cited for leaving an unattended child in a car with the motor running. That case is still open. Burton says a judge assigned to the child neglect case may also consider the unattended child case to determine Austin’s punishment if she is convicted in the felony child neglect case.
Austin is being held without bond because she had two warrants for her arrest out of Duval County.
Badie is being held without bond because deputies said he violated his felony probation.