MAGNOLIA, Ark. — A forensic evaluation says a southwest Arkansas couple whose 2-week-old daughter suffered nearly 100 rat bites are fit to stand trial despite their mental illnesses.
Erica Shryock, 19, and Charles Elliott, 18, each face charges of permitting abuse of a minor and first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported .
Their 5-pound daughter underwent reconstructive surgery in May due to extensive injuries from the rat bites. She had bites on her arms, hands, face and fingers as well as a one-inch wound on her forehead where the skull was visible.
The evaluation said the mental illnesses Shryock and Elliott suffer from don’t prevent them from understanding the proceedings or assisting in their own defense.
Elliot has polysubstance use disorder, a trauma-related disorder, anti-social personality disorder and an unspecified bipolar disorder, according to the report. Shryock has major depressive disorder, polysubstance use disorder and borderline intellectual functioning, the report said.
The evaluator suspected Shryock and Elliott may have been lying during the evaluation because they both reported having mental illnesses and dysfunctions that could benefit their cases.
“Furthermore, (Shryock and Elliott) reported almost identical mental disorders, which made both accounts of their illness questionable,” the report said.
They were arrested in May and are being held in the Columbia County Jail on $15,000 bail.
A phone message left by The Associated Press seeking comment from the couple’s attorney wasn’t immediately returned.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com