TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- Taiwanese are shocked by the death of an 18-month-old toddler in southern Taiwan at the hands of her 17-year-old mother and three other adults, reported Apple Daily.
A toddler died last night (Jan. 15) in Tainan City after suffering extensive injuries, and during questioning by police, the child's 17-year-old mother surnamed Hsueh (薛) confessed to beating her frequently. The mother's boyfriend admitted to "disciplining" the child and two cousins are suspected of abusing the toddler as well.
A toddler surnamed Lee (李) was sent to Kuo General Hospital by Hsueh and friends last night because of weak breathing. After failure to resuscitate the baby, doctors declared the toddler dead.
Medical staff found many bruises on the little girl's body and scabby wounds on her face and limbs. Doctors suspected that it was a case of domestic violence and notified the police.
When questioned by police, Hsueh confessed that when the toddler cried, she would beat her with a "backscratcher." Hseuh's boyfriend also surnamed Lee (李), who is a taxi driver, is also a suspect because he also "disciplined" the girl.
In addition, two of Hsueh's cousins are also suspected by police of beating the child when she cried, making a total of four currently being investigated for negligent homicide. Police have confiscated a backscratcher, rattan cane, and plastic pipe, among other items.
Photo of Hsueh. (Image from Facebook)
At press conference held at 10 p.m. last night, police said that they were notified by the hospital that the baby had died as a result of abuse. An inspection of the little girl's body showed that her hands, feet, and back had extensive bruises, confirming suspicions that she had been abused.
Hsueh admitted that in the most recent incident, she beat the toddler after she cried and knocked over a bottle of milk, but she claimed that she did not know how serious the child's injuries would be. Both Hsueh and her boyfriend claim that the little girl was unruly and that they "disciplined" her, but denied abusing her.
After news broke of the latest cruel case of child abuse, hot on the heels of the "Meatball Dad" saga, nearly 100 angry netizens gathered outside the police station in Tainan where the suspects were being questioned at 1 a.m. this morning. Police sent officers in three waves to try and disperse the crowd, but many continued to linger outside the station.
As police struggled with the angry mob, some vigilantes smashed the rear windshield of the taxi driven by the teenage mother's boyfriend.
The girl was born in July 2017 and her biological parents divorced in September 2018, with custody being transferred to Hsueh. After the divorce, mother and daughter moved into a two-bedroom apartment occupied by her cousin and his wife in Tainan's North District.
Hsueh's boyfriend was good friends with her cousin and he frequently visited the apartment and interacted with the little girl.
An initial police investigation found that when Hsueh was trying to feed the toddler last night, she cried and frequently tossed aside the milk bottle, refusing to drink from it. Hsueh said that she then used a back scratcher to "teach her a lesson," but the child only cried louder. After crying for an extended period of time, she apparently fell asleep out of exhaustion.
At 9 p.m., Hsueh's boyfriend stopped by her residence and took all three adults to a KTV club. However, while driving to the club, Hsueh found that her daughter's breathing had become very faint.
Frightened she asked her boyfriend to drive straight to Kuo General Hospital. Once there, doctors commenced CPR and injected a cardiotonic agent, however, they were unsuccessful in resuscitating the child.
When nurses examined the head, body, and limbs of the child, they found many bruises and scabs that appeared by be caused by fingernails. They then alerted police and an investigation for child abuse was launched.
Taiwanese netizens were furious at the abusive behavior of the mother and her accomplices:
"How on earth could you do that to a 1-year-old child?"
"Damn, there is such a scoundrel in society!"
"The little baby is no longer in pain, I pray that they will be punished!"