Lynn Haven couple charged with child abuse after 2-year-old found wandering, bruised

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LYNN HAVEN – Lynn Haven Police have arrested a local couple on felony charges of Child Abuse. On the afternoon of October 21, 2021, officers of the Lynn Haven Police Department responded to a report of a two-year old child who was seen crying and wandering barefoot and alone in the area of 11th Street and Colorado Avenue. This child was discovered by local citizens who stopped to help and notified the police. While they were rendering aid to the child, it was discovered that he had significant bruising on his back, which they pointed out to responding officers.

Shortly thereafter, police received a call regarding a child matching the same description who was missing from a home the in the 1000 block of Louisiana Avenue. An examination of the bruises on the child by responding officers determined that they were consistent with intentionally inflicted injuries. Investigators from the Criminal Investigations Division and the Florida Department of Children and Families were also notified and responded to the scene.

During the course of the ensuing investigation, sufficient evidence was developed to determine that the child had been struck repeatedly on his lower back, buttocks, upper legs and other parts of his body over a period of time by his mother, twenty nine-year-old, Leigh Ann Carlton and her boyfriend, twenty five-year old, Ernest Thomas Cousins. Carlton was charged with Child Abuse. Cousins was charged with Child Abuse and Violation of Probation on a previous charge of Possession of MDMA.

Chief Ricky Ramie would like to thank the Florida Department of Children and Families, the Child Protection Team and the Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center for their assistance in this investigation. Anyone with information regarding this crime is asked to contact the Lynn Haven Police Department at (850) 265-4111.

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