Man who ‘tortured toddler with blowtorch’ dies ‘after hanging himself’ in jail
A man accused of torturing a child by burning her with a blowtorch has died six days after hanging himself in jail, according to reports.
Andrew Ross-Celaius, 37, was in protective custody after being arrested on multiple charges relating to a ‘heinous’ child abuse case of his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter.
The Sheriff’s Office obtained horrifying footage in which Ross-Celaius was allegedly seen throwing milk bottles at the child while she was sleeping and shooting her with an airsoft gun, Channel 3 News reports.
The man was also seen using a dog tasing collar on the child and burning her with a blow torch while wearing a werewolf mask.
Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said: “It’s the thing that nightmares are made of. No child should ever be subjected to this.
“If you wanna think about something that you can do to a child that would terrorise them… this child lived through that.”
Investigators said the incident came to light when the mother took her daughter to a local hospital in fear of ringworm infections.
She was told by hospital staff that the injuries, such as burn marks, suggested to be child abuse and alerted the police.
Ross-Celaius was charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse, four counts of child abuse, probation violence, possession of a weapon, marijuana possession, drug equipment, drugs-health-safety, and drug possession.
Ross-Celaius was charged with murdering another two-year-old child in 2006 but the jury found him not guilty, according to the State Attorney’s Office.
He was expected to appear in court on May 2 on the more recent charges, but was found hanging himself in jail the day before, Channel 3 News reports.
A spokeswoman for the Escambia County confirmed that he was alive when he was rushed to the hospital.
He remained at the hospital until his family members decided to terminate his life support on Tuesday, May 7, said Mr Morgan.
An investigation has launched and preliminary findings indicated Ross-Celaius’s injuries were self-inflicted.
Security camera footage at the prison and activity logs showed county corrections staff had been patrolling in accordance with jail policy at the time of the incident.
The Sheriff’s Office would continue the child abuse investigation even with Ross-Celaius’s death.
Mr Morgan said: “We’re looking for any additional victims, and anyone who might have had knowledge of the crimes being committed and failed to report them.
“We will continue with this case, and if we find out there are those who failed to report the abuse of children, they may be facing charges, too.”
Ross-Celaius’s friend, Eric Furnans, was arrested on multiple charges including trying to help destroy evidence linked to the abuse of the two-year-old.