A 27-year-old woman was arrested Thursday on suspicion of abusing her boyfriend’s 1-year-old daughter while he was away at Army training, Colorado Springs police said Friday.
Melissa Alexander was booked into the El Paso County jail on suspicion of child abuse, a class 3 felony, after the toddler was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, police said.
Officers were notified shortly before 1 p.m. on Wednesday that the toddler was unconscious and not breathing, police said. She was taken to the hospital, where she remained in critical condition Friday, police said.
Alexander had been caring for the girl since October, when her boyfriend, Matt Strickland, left for a month-long training exercise in Louisiana to prepare him for overseas deployment, family friends said Friday evening.
Alexander, who has a 2-year-old boy, met Strickland in June and the couple moved in together a few months ago at an apartment on Zamora Circle, northwest of Fountain and Academy boulevards, said Christine Taylor, the boy’s godmother.
Standing outside Strickland’s apartment, one of the Strickland’s friends asked for privacy and said the soldier did not want to talk about the incident.
The arrest shocked Taylor, who had known Alexander for several years and watched Alexander’s son and then Strickland’s daughter growing.
“I’m freaking out; it’s devastating,” Taylor said. “She (the toddler) is amazing. She was inches away from walking.”
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