Melissa was found unconscious on December 17, 2012.
Investigators working with the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office said that Kenneth and Misty Stoddard, her father and stepmother, admitted to using restraints to control her.
My Fox Tampa Bay reports that they ‘allegedly hog-tied her arms to her legs, duct-taped her mouth, and binded her to a plywood board that she was forced to sleep on’.
Capt. Jeff Bell in 2012 said:
“That had holes drilled in it and has wooden blocks on the bottom of it,”
“And that board at the time of the search warrant was found discarded across the road or in the trees.”
Reports from the autopsy showed Melissa died from lack of oxygen.
At the time four other children were taken into protective custody.
Both Kenneth and Misty Stoddard have been charged with aggravated child abuse with Misty facing a first-degree murder charge. Kenneth is charged with aggravated manslaughter and tampering with evidence.
The original report with video by Kim Kuizon can be found on the My Fox Tampa Bay website