Rony Veus of Apopka, Fla. (pictured), was arrested last Thursday after he allegedly threw his 1-year-old daughter on the floor and began burning her with a cigar. The girl, who was identified as “Honey” (pictured) by her grandmother, died Saturday from her injuries.
WKMG Local 6 reports that Veus was initially charged with abusing Honey, but those charges were upgraded to murder after she died over the weekend.
Apopka police say that 911 was called around 1 p.m. concerning a girl who wasn’t breathing and showed no signs of a pulse. The cops who arrived on the scene said they saw Veus performing CPR on the girl. After the she had been taken to the hospital, staff told investigators they suspected that the child had been abused.
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“When something like this happens your heart goes out to that poor, defenseless child,” said Officer Steven Popp of the Apopka police.
The 23-year-old father allegedly admitted to cops that he had thoughts of harming his daughter and that he felt relieved when he caused her pain or discomfort. The cops added that Veus acted on his thoughts by pulling his daughter’s hair, pushing her down, throwing her on the bed and forcing her to eat cinnamon. He also allegedly burned the top of her foot with a cigar.
Local 6 spoke with Veus’ mother, who said she was shocked by the charges against her son. While she told the television station that she’d never think her son could hurt his own child, she knew something wasn’t right. “I asked him ‘what’s going on?’ He said he don’t know. I said ‘what did you do with the baby I see something on her feet?’ He say he don’t know,” said Veus’ mother Maritelle Thelemaque.
Neighbors also were dismayed after hearing of the abuse charges. “It’s shocking any time it happens but as far as being two or three doors down that’s even more,” said neighbor Todd Harriman.
Veus is being held without bond on first-degree murder.