ROGERS (KFSM) — A Rogers woman and her boyfriend are accused of abusing her toddler after an investigation revealed the girl had severe, full-body bruising and a possible chemical burn to her eyes.
Stacey Carmichael, 26, and Matthew Ryder Vansickle, 23, were arrested this week in connection with first-degree domestic battery — a Class B felony.
Carmichael said in December 2017 she took her 2-year-old daughter to the emergency room because her eyes were swollen. Carmichael told Benton County sheriff’s deputies the swelling was from an eye infection and doctors sent them home, according to a probable cause affidavit.
But after speaking with doctors, deputies found that several hospital examinations revealed signs of child abuse, and the girl’s eye irritation was “consistent with alkali chemical injury,” according to the affidavit.
During one examination in January, a doctor noted the possible burn appeared to “be from a large volume of chemicals” which likely caused the girl “immediate and extreme pain,” according to the affidavit.
Carmichael appeared to smile as her daughter cried during the examination, prompting the doctor to note “this is not a typical response from a parent.”
The doctor said Carmichael described her daughter as “strong-willed” and said she “could have done this to herself,” according to the affidavit.
Deputies noted the girl has only been in the care of Carmichael and Vansickle, who isn’t the girl’s biological father.
In June 2017, a child care worker at the girl’s daycare took pictures of her injuries and reported them to the state Department of Human Services.
The child care worker said a DHS official later viewed the photos but said they wouldn’t hold up in court, so the child care worker deleted them, according to the affidavit.
The girl is being treated at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, where she underwent an amniotic membrane graft for each eye earlier this month.
A doctor with the ACH’s Center for Children at Risk — which treats medical and mental health needs of abused children — said the girl’s eye injuries could be from a chemical burn, an unresolved infection or a combination of both.
The doctor added the girl was still undergoing “extreme” surgery and it was too early to tell if her eye damage was permanent.
Carmichael and Vansickle are free on $10,000 and $5,000 bonds, respectively. Both have hearings set for April 2 in Benton County Circuit Court.
In Arkansas, Class B felonies are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000, according to Arkansas statutes.