WAKULLA COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) - A sex offender is behind bars in Wakulla County after being accused of "choking out" a 5-year-old child in his custody.
The Wakulla County Sheriff's Office says they arrested Jacob Rawl, 36, for felony child abuse with infliction of physical and mental injury.
On Thursday, a complainant contacted WCSO and shared an allegation made by a 5-year-old child that Rawl, the person who had custody over the child, had “choked the child out." The caller also alleged the child had visible marks from the assault.
A deputy photographed the child's injuries and the Florida Department of Children and Families was called to conduct a protective investigation.
The next day, the 5-year-old was interviewed and medically examined. During the interview, investigators were told the Rawl choked the child after the child was unable to locate an item belonging to a sibling. The day after the assault, deputies say Rawl kept the child home from school due to the marks.
A medical examination revealed there was apparent, “petechial hemorrhage and tissue bruising.”
Petechiae rashes or spots may occur due to different causes including trauma, pressure, allergy, and hemorrhage. Deputies say excessive pressure could cause the body tissue to experience stress that causes the spots to appear.
WCSO noted that the 5-year-old child is approximately 3-foot-6 feet tall and weighs approximately 50 pounds, while Rawl is approximately 5-foot-10' feet tall and weighs approximately 280 pounds.
On Friday, deputies say they interrogated Rawl who denied choking the child but admitted to keeping the child home from school due to the marks.
Detectives say a search of Rawl's records revealed he has faced child abuse allegations before. In 2012, Jacob Rawl was arrested on child cruelty charges for abusing a 5-year-old child. He is also a registered sexual offender.
Based on the evidence, deputies arrested Rawl on Friday for felony child abuse. He was booked into the Wakulla County Jail.
WTXL has reached out to the Wakulla County Sheriff's Office to figure out how Rawl, a registered sex offender, had custody of the child.