Published: May 09, 2011 11:10 PM EDT
Updated: May 09, 2011 4:48 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A Lehigh Acres woman came to the Cape Coral Police Department to make a report of child abuse on April 20. The woman told officers that her 5-year-old daughter was at the child’s father’s home in Cape Coral April 15-April 20.

When the child returned home with her mother, she told her mother that her father had beaten her with a metal coat hanger and a belt the previous evening. The mother took the little girl’s pants down to inspect her buttocks and discovered bruises and lacerations covering her buttocks. She immediately contacted the police and reported the crime.

In an interview with child protective investigators, the little girl stated that she had been sleeping in her bed and woke up to find that no one was home. She became scared and used her father’s girlfriend’s cell phone to call for help. A woman answered the phone and told the girl that someone would be right over. The girl went back to sleep.

A little while later the girl was awakened by her father, Rickey Anthony Washington. Washington was angry and asked the girl if she had called anyone. The girl told investigators that she was scared and answered no. Washington struck her across the face with an open hand several times. He then retrieved a metal coat hanger from the closet and spanked her buttocks. The girl told investigators that Washington also used a belt to spank her. She described the beating as so painful that she had difficulty breathing as it was happening. Washington reportedly asked the girl “who’s the boss” as he was spanking her.

DCF Investigators as well as Cape Police Detectives attempted to contact Washington for an interview; however, he would not answer the door or respond to phone calls.

The Cape Coral Police Department’s Street Crimes Unit conducted surveillance on Washington’s residence in an effort to locate him. On Friday, officers with SCU observed Washington exit his residence. Washington saw officers and attempted to flee. He was quickly apprehended and transported to Cape Coral Police Headquarters for an interview.

In an interview with Cape Coral Police Detective Kurt Grau, Washington admitted to spanking the girl with his belt for lying but denied using a coat hanger. Washington stated that he felt bad that he left marks on the child but maintained that he only struck her five times even after Detective Grau produced photos of the girl’s injuries that showed many more marks on her.

Washington was charged with Aggravated Child Abuse and transferred to the Lee County Jail.