Gainesville mother arrested on child abuse charges

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB)-- Marline Toussaint, 31, was booked into the Alachua County Jail after police say she beat her son with a broken tee-ball stand.

On Wednesday, officers say Toussaint was taking a shower when her two children, a son and daughter of unknown ages, knocked her phone into the bathroom sink, getting it wet.

Detectives said Toussaint became angry, took her son, the victim, into her bedroom and grabbed a broken piece from a toddler's tee-ball set. They said she then used the piece to hit the child on his right arm and head multiple times, resulting in various cuts.

Three witnesses were in the living room at the time of the incident, according to police. Officers said one of the witnesses advised Toussaint to stop hitting her son while another witness bandaged the boy up. That's when Toussaint flushed the bandages down the toilet.

The following day, Thursday, the victim was interviewed by detectives and said he was beat because his sister dropped their mother's phone into the sink. A medical exam of the child resulted in detectives declaring the boy had been physically abused.

Toussaint was subsequently taken into custody. During questioning, police said, she changed her story from only hitting the child once to hitting him multiple times. Toussaint admitted what she did wasn't appropriate but that her son should have known better.