A 7-year-old alleged abuse victim had already been removed from her parents’ home earlier this year by Child Protective Services when her new caretaker was arrested last week on a child abuse charge.
The girl’s 64-year-old relative, Janice Stoever Odom, was arrested Monday, charged with 3rd degree felony injury to a child after a Thursday night incident. Odom, investigators say, repeatedly slapped the girl across the face, causing swelling, bruising and bleeding on the inside of her mouth.
The arrest occurred months after state investigators found reason to believe she was physically abused by her stepfather and mother.
Odom was entrusted with the girl’s care after CPS removed her and her two older sisters from their mother. However, Odom reportedly confessed the incident to a group of her coworkers that day at Weatherford College, where she is employed as a secretary, court documents state.
One coworker reportedly told police that Odom also said she choked the child once prior to Thanksgiving when she was trying to discipline her, according to court documents.
Two detectives with the Weatherford Police Department reportedly arrived at the woman’s apartment Friday afternoon and found Odom and the girl, who had distinctive bruising on the left side of her face, at home, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Odom admitted to hitting the girl, detectives wrote.
The Department of Family and Protective Services has removed the girl and her two sisters from the home and filed a child protection case in a Parker County Court-at-Law this week.
CPS has a 7-year history of allegations involving the girl and her sisters, detailed in recent filings.
In 2005, the department found reason to believe there was neglectful supervision of the girl’s then 2-year-old sister by the girls’ mother. She reportedly completed a family services plan that year.