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MARION COUNTY, FL – Yesterday, September 8, 2022, Marion County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Detectives arrested Travis Ray Thompson, 25, of Ocala, for first-degree murder while engaged in aggravated child abuse.
According to authorities, on May 3, 2022, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office received reports from AdventHealth Waterman, in Tavares, Florida, in reference to a toddler being transported to the Emergency Room in critical condition. After many attempts to save the victim’s life, she was ultimately pronounced deceased. The Major Crimes units responded to the hospital and began investigating her death.
Through Detective King’s investigation, it was revealed that Thompson physically abused the toddler while she was in his care, which resulted in her spine being completely severed. Thompson claimed that he and the victim were in separate rooms when he heard a loud noise and then located her unresponsive and taking shallow breaths. Instead of calling 911, Thompson waited for 30 minutes for the victim’s mother to arrive and only then began driving to the hospital. While en route to the hospital, the victim’s mother directed Thompson to call 911 when she realized the victim had stopped breathing altogether.
On September 1, 2022, the Medical Examiner’s Office determined the cause of death was traumatic injuries to the victim’s torso with a severing of her spine and internal bleeding behind her organs. Based on the severity and nature of the break, it was determined that Thompson applied significant, gradual force to the victim’s upper and lower body from the front with a fulcrum point on her lower back.
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On September 8, 2022, Thompson was taken into custody for further questioning. When questioned about the findings of the investigation, Thompson still claimed that he did not know how or why the victim died.
Thompson was placed under arrest and transported to the Marion County Jail, where he is held without bond. Thompson is also on misdemeanor probation for failure to comply with an injunction to prevent child abuse.