PD: West Phoenix couple accused of causing fractures, cuts and keeping child unfed

Posted at 12:25 PM, Oct 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 22:06:32-04

A woman on lifetime probation for child abuse has been arrested again. 

Court records show that a couple in Phoenix have been accused of child abuse for allegedly striking their child in the back with a tree branch wrapped in duct tape causing fractures, forcing the child to kneel for extended periods of time, and causing her to "steal from the fridge" and "eat from the trash."

Police report that a witness contacted the child abuse hotline on Oct. 3, and reported that they felt a huge lump on her back and that the victim, "looked ill and defeated, saying,  'there was just no life.'"

The next day, Phoenix police and officials from the Department of Child Safety went to the home near 43rd Avenue and Thomas Road, where they talked with 37-year-old Melissa Nicole Loyd and 43-year-old Michael Edward Dugger.

At first, the couple denied the child was home, but later after police entered the home, they said the child was there.

Officers say they saw injuries to the child's back and face. Loyd reportedly told police that the girl injured herself when she fell outside while playing.

She also allegedly told police that the girl was home schooled because she was diagnosed with a "conduct disorder," and the injuries to her face were from "picking, falling, or hitting herself."

Dugger reportedly told police that the injuries to the child back were from a food allergy.

Police and DCS interviewed other children in the home, one of which allegedly told police that the victim was beaten on her back with a "big long stick, that was obtained from a tree from their prior residence. It has gray tape wrapped around it and used to be used on their dogs, but is now used on her and her sister."

She also reportedly told police that the victim was made to kneel for a "long time" and was "really skinny from not eating."

Other children in the home defended the couple saying that the victim gets plenty of food but eats off the ground and out of the trash. They also allegedly said the victim hurt her back falling off the railing on the stairs. 

Police also say that the victim was removed from the home just after birth and returned to the home in June 2009 when she was 2 years old.

Police searched the home and found a bloody blanket and shoes, roaches and bed bugs throughout the house. However, no stick was located. 

Police report that Loyd is on lifetime probation for child abuse from a prior incident occurring years ago, involving another child, who is now an adult.

Both Loyd and Dugger are being held on $150,000 bond and facing 17 counts of child abuse.