Navarre couple arrested for beating 23-month-old

A 23-month-old suffered lacerations to the face and a ruptured eyeball, requiring surgery, after the mother’s live-in-boyfriend allegedly struck the child in the face in Navarre April 6.

Ezell Dwayne Allen

Ezell Dwayne Allen, 20, was arrested Aug. 5 and charged with first degree felony aggravated child abuse in connection with the incident. The mother, Dominique Spears, is also facing charges for child cruelty.

According to a Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office arrest record, Spears and Allen were in the shower of their home in Navarre while the children were taking a nap in another room.

According to Allen’s statement to deputies, the 23-month-old was in the bed when she injured herself on a glass containing soda sitting on the bedside table. He said he entered the bedroom after hearing a noise and found the child already bleeding.

He informed Spears of the injury, and the baby was transported to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center where doctors performed surgery due to a rupture to the back of the child’s right eye. Doctors evaluating the child indicated to deputies that the injury was too severe to have been self-inflicted.

Dominique Spears

The child was pre-verbal and unable to tell officers what happened.

When confronted with the doctor’s statements, Allen denied having struck the child.

Spears was also arrested for child cruelty without great bodily harm, a third-degree felony. According to the arrest report, linear and looped bruises found on the child’s body indicated she had been beaten with a belt.

Deputies believed Spears was responsible for these bruises.

Both suspects remained in Santa Rosa County Jail as of Aug. 8. Allen’s bond has been set at $75,000, and Spears bond was set at $5,000.

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