DCF says child in abuse investigation has died


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Department of Children and Families confirmed the death of a 5-year-old girl who was badly beaten in a Westside home.

Action News Jax first told you Friday that sources said the little girl was on life support after an extreme case of abuse in a home at the Oak Tree Apartments.

STORY: Child dies following incident at Oak Tree Apartments, DCF says

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The child’s grandmother told Action News Jax's reporter Ryan Nelson the child’s mother, Michelle Cannimore, is behind bars, and so is her current boyfriend, Jonte Harris.

Cannimore is charged with child neglect and child abuse with intentional infliction of physical or mental injury. Harris is charged with aggravated battery on a child using a deadly weapon.

Neighbors said they feared abuse may have been present in the home. They told us they could hear screams coming from the home.

“I told [detectives] the same thing I'm telling you,” said one neighbor. "That I would hear that, and I was like, ‘What's going on?’”

Action News Jax obtained a statement from DCF Interim Secretary Rebecca Kapusta:

“I am absolutely horrified and disgusted at the abuse this child endured in her short life. That anyone would hurt an innocent child is shameful and DCF will work closely with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office to hold anyone responsible for her abuse fully accountable under the law.

"There are not sufficient words to describe the pain those who loved her are feeling right now, but the department will continue to ensure her sibling is in a safe home and that she receives the highest quality care as she recovers from this loss.”

DCF also told us the family has a history with the welfare system.

“We’d try to go ask if she's alright,” said the neighbor. “She would just open the door for a second. She wouldn't open the door all the way.”

Another woman, who asked that her identity be concealed for her protection claims Cannimore’s personality seemed to change after she began dating Harris.

“She will have her head down,” she said. “And that’s how she would be.”

So far, no murder charges have been filed in the case. Action News Jax requested the arrest report from JSO on Friday, and we’re still waiting for it.