Sheriff describes toddler’s death as ‘bone-chilling’ and ‘sickening’

Posted at 9:59 PM, May 26, 2023 and last updated 9:59 PM, May 26, 2023

By: Tim Kephart

BARTOW, Fla. (Scripps News Tampa) — Two people face aggravated manslaughter of a child charges after a 3-year-old boy died under gruesome circumstances under their care.

Booking photos of Takesha Williams and Efram Allen, jr.

Takesha Williams and Efram Allen Jr are charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child in the death of a 3-year-old. (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office was called after the toddler was found unresponsive on May 12. Bartow Fire Rescue responded to the call and found the child connected to a ventilator but without a pulse.

Emergency workers took the 3-year-old to an area hospital, where he died. Polk County Sheriff’s detectives said extensive injuries were found on the child, including a severely bloated belly, injuries and numerous open sores.

(Editor’s note: the full details of the injuries were especially graphic and not included in this report.)

Detectives discovered the toddler was involved in a near-drowning in Davenport, Florida, in 2020 and has been connected to a ventilator ever since.

Takesha Williams, 24, and Efrem Allen, Jr., were taking care of the child for the last month. Both told detectives they had noticed large, extensive sores but were “afraid to contact anybody, due to being afraid they would have their children taken away by DCF.”

Both were arrested on May 13 on charges of negligent child abuse causing great harm. The 10th Judicial Circuit Court upgraded the charges to aggravated manslaughter of a child on Friday.

“I’ve seen some truly horrific events in my long law enforcement career, but I have never, ever seen anything as sad, as bone-chilling, and as sickening as what this baby suffered before finally perishing from the despicable acts of these two criminals,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

This story was originally published on May 26, 2023, by WFTS in Tampa, an E.W. Scripps Company.