Charlotte County Sheriff's Warrant Squad detectives Tuesday arrested Thomas DiPaolo Jr., 30, 8370 Roosevelt St., Englewood East, following an investigation involving alleged abuse of a 3-year-old boy.
CCSO received a June 27 call from the Pinellas County Child Protection Team concerning the alleged physical abuse of a boy transported from Englewood Community Hospital to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
Police say DiPaolo and mother of the boy were dating the past few months. The mother, 19, would leave her child in the care of DiPaolo when she went to work.
Thomas DiPaolo Jr.
Several weeks ago DiPaolo told the boy's mother that the child suffered a burn to his hand from running water from a bathroom sink. The mother treated the boy for burns then two days later took him to his pediatrician for treatment.
DiPaolo sent a text message June 14 saying her son had fallen in the bathtub striking his head. She returned home and took him to the ECH Emergency Room; the boy was released later.
The next day, the mother went to work and when she returned noticed the bruises were more severe on her son's face and head. The mother took her son back to ECH where a CT scan indicated the bruises were consistent to the fall and the child was released.
The boy was taken to ECH June 27 for an infection and was transferred to All Children's Hospital where doctors found the healing bruises as severe physical abuse. The bruising, specifically on the head, was healing at different rates, which suggests blunt force trauma occurring on different occasions instead of one fall. Bruises behind the ears also suggested blunt force trauma, doctors told police. Head injuries reportedly included severe hair pulling caused the scalp to be forcefully separate from the skull. The doctor also said the burn to the boys hand was intentional as it was considerably hotter than a normal hot water heater would produce.
Police say witnesses described the boy's mother as a loving mother. Witnesses also said the boy's demeanor changed drastically in the presence of DiPaolo as he appeared nervous and not his normal happy self.
CCSO Warrant Squad detectives Tuesday arrested DiPaolo in the 2900 block of South McCall Road. He was arrested and taken to the Charlotte County Jail where he remains on $50,000 bond.