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Man accused of burning girl

Authorities say the 3-year-old was covered with bruises and cigarette burns. A suspect turned himself in at the county jail.

By JORGE SANCHEZ

© St. Petersburg Times, published March 23, 2001


CRYSTAL RIVER -- A man accused of beating a 3-year-old girl and burning her with cigarettes surrendered at the county jail Wednesday.

David Paul Jacks, 44 NE Ninth Ave., Crystal River, was charged with aggravated child abuse following an investigation by the Citrus County Sheriff's Office and the state Department of Children and Families.

The victim, who is not related to Jacks, was removed from her home by a child protection team from the DCF in early February. Jacks was living with the victim's mother.

A sheriff's investigator called the abuse severe.

"It's one of the worst cases," said Detective Michael Baute. "The child had both old and new bruises on just about every part of her body and the cigarette burns."

The investigation began on Feb. 4, when the child's biological father, who lives in Georgia, reported the abuse to the Sheriff's Office.

The victim was removed from the home and placed in foster care with a relative, Baute said.

"As soon as the child was removed, the bruising stopped," he said.

The investigation indicated the victim did not have any bruises before Jacks moved into the home, the detective said.

Jacks dated the child's mother for about a month before moving in with her in November. The bruises appeared shortly afterward, authorities said.

An arrest report says Jacks is unemployed.

The child's mother was not charged.

After learning that he would be arrested, Jacks, 25, became a fugitive for about three weeks before turning himself in at the county jail, Baute said.

"He admitted burning the child four times with a cigarette, but told us it was an accident," Baute said. "The medical report from Shands Hospital indicated the burns were not consistent with an accident. But in any case, someone shouldn't burn a baby four times, even if it is an accident, and still be considered a good caregiver."

Jacks was released Thursday from the jail after posting $5,000 bail.

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