|Published:||Jul 11, 2012 12:41 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Jul 11, 2012 5:45 PM EDT|
ENGLEWOOD EAST, Fla.- Charlotte County Sheriff's Warrant Squad detectives Tuesday located and arrested Thomas DiPaolo Jr., 30, of 8370 Roosevelt Street.
A warrant was issued for DiPaolo following an investigation that began June 27 when CCSO received a call from the Pinellas County Child Protection Team (CPT) concerning a 3-year-old boy with physical abuse that was transported from Englewood Community Hospital to All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.
CCSO detectives met with doctors and St. Petersburg Police at the hospital concerning the condition of the boy. It was learned that DiPaolo and mother of the boy were in a dating relationship for the past four to six months. The mother, 19, would leave her child in the care of DiPaolo when she went to work.
Several weeks ago DiPaolo told the boy’s mother that the child suffered a burn to his hand from running water from a bathroom sink. The mother treated the boy for burns then two days later took him to his pediatrician for treatment.
On June 14, DiPaolo sent a text message saying her son had fallen in the bathtub striking his head. She returned home and took him to the ECH Emergency Room; the boy was released later.
The next day, the mother went to work and when she returned noticed the bruises were more severe on her son’s face and head. DiPaolo said the bruising must have progressed from the previous days fall. The mother took her son back to ECH’s ER; a CT scan was completed and yielded no negative findings and were consistent to the fall and the child was released.
On June 27, the boy was taken to ECH for an infection and needed specialized care; the boy was transferred to All Children’s Hospital. Doctors recognized the healing bruises as several signs of abuse and contacted the CPT officials who initiated this abuse case.
In a preliminary report, a doctor said her findings were positive for severe physical abuse. The bruising to the body, specifically on his head, is healing at different rates which suggests blunt force trauma occurring on different occasions instead of one fall as DiPaolo explained. Bruises were observed behind the ears, also suggesting blunt force trauma. The report also indicated head injuries include severe abusive hair pulling caused the scalp to be forcefully separate from the skull. The doctor also said the burn to the boys hand was not accidental, but instead intentional. It was considerably hotter than what a hot water heater could produce.
Throughout the investigation detectives made contact with several witnesses who described the boy’s mother as a loving mother. Witnesses also stated his demeanor drastically changed in the presence of DiPaolo as he appeared nervous and not his normal happy self.
As a result of the investigation, CCSO detectives said evidence suggests severe injuries to the child and in each case occurred when his mother was at work. Several attempts made by detectives to locate DiPaolo were unsuccessful and information suggested he may have fled out of state. However, CCSO Warrant Squad detectives Tuesday did locate DiPaolo in the 2900 block of South McCall Road. He was arrested and taken to the Charlotte County Jail where he remains on $50,000 bond.