TRAVERSE CITY — Two Long Lake Township residents face accusations they abused and tortured a 4-year-old child after authorities found the underweight tot had bruises, cuts and lost hair.
Joseph Douglas Franks, 30, and Andrea Ashley Limon, 27, appeared Tuesday in 86th District Court for arraignment on torture and first-degree child abuse charges. Both charges come with potential life sentences.
Grand Traverse County sheriff's Lt. Chris Barsheff said deputies arrested Franks and Limon after a months-long investigation into abuse at their Long Lake Township home.
"It was a matter of investigating medical records and waiting for the prosecutor's office review," Barsheff said.
Court documents state in April a babysitter walked into Franks' 4-year-old daughter's room and found the child in her crib wearing urine-soaked clothing. The babysitter also noticed the child had lost weight.
A deputy questioned Franks and Limon, Franks' girlfriend, on April 23. The documents state the deputy noticed Franks held the child wrapped in a blanket.
"When he set (the child) down, the blanket fell to the ground and (the deputy) immediately noticed severe bruising from the top of her back all the way to her pant line," the documents state. "He also noticed fresh scab marks on her face and the top of her head."
The deputy called an ambulance to transport the girl to Munson Medical Center, where a doctor noted the child had numerous bruises and cuts. The doctor found the child, who weighed 30.8 pounds, failed to thrive.
Limon, who is not the child's biological mother, described the child to investigators as "extremely difficult," according to court documents. Franks claimed the child had autism, a hair-pulling disorder and problems bonding with adults.
"(Franks) indicated that she has no pain threshold and that she injured herself throughout the day on (April 20) by 'throwing fits,'" documents state.
Authorities released the victim into her grandmother's care, who told investigators that the child never caused injury to herself, pulled her hair or picked her skin, the documents state. A doctor also noted that the child did not have autism.
Franks and Limon are scheduled to appear in 86th District Court for a preliminary examination on July 22. They remain in Grand Traverse County's jail on 10 percent $25,000 bonds.