CPS spokeswoman: Lufkin child abuse victim's condition improving

Elisiah Phipps (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Elisiah Phipps (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Ashley Wingo (Source: Angelina County Jail)
Ashley Wingo (Source: Angelina County Jail)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Child Protective Services spokeswoman said Thursday that the 3-year-old girl who was allegedly severely beaten by her mother's boyfriend is expected to make a full recovery.

However, although the little girl's condition is improving, she is still in stable but serious condition at a Houston hospital.

"This is a really extreme case, but I've noticed physical abuse cases have gotten more extreme, and it seems to always be the boyfriend," said Shari Pulliam, a CPS spokeswoman. "There have been really bad cases with women letting their boyfriends discipline and abuse their children."

Pulliam said even though the child doesn't have any internal bleeding, doctors are treating her for the serious infection that was caused by her injuries. The CPS spokeswoman also said the little girl's hands and feet are so severely swollen that she is unable to walk at this time.

When the -year-old girl is released from the hospital, she will be going to a foster home, Pulliam said.

The CPS official said they haven't found any family members to take custody of the little girl. Pulliam said even if a family member does come forward, there will still be a process that CPS officials will have to go through to make sure the relative's home is a safe environment.

Pulliam said they will try to place the 3-year-old girl and her infant sibling in the same home if at all possible.

Elisiah "Big Boy" Phipps, 35, and Ashley Wingo, 25, both of Houston, are still being held in the Angelina County Jail. Phipps was charged with third-degree felony injury to child, and Wingo was charged with state-jail felony injury to a child. The couple's bail was set at $50,000 each.

According to Lt. David Young of the Lufkin Police Department, it appears the child's injuries have occurred over an unknown period of time, as the girl had old and fresh scars all over her body.

"There were injuries ranging from scars to fresh injuries, scabs on the buttocks where the flesh had actually been beaten away. Her hands were so swollen she couldn't close her fists, marks on her hands, marks on her feet, marks on the bottom of her feet, marks all over the torso and buttocks," Young said.

Young said the investigation started Tuesday afternoon after someone called police and advised they look into a situation involving the abused child.

Young said police arrived at the 900 block of Picardy Lane at 12:31 p.m. and Phipps, 35, answered the door and said nobody else was home. Young said officers felt he was lying and were able to talk to letting him inside, where he led them to a bedroom closet, where the child and her mother, Wingo, were hiding.

According to the on-view narrative written in the arrest affidavit, the child had multiple injuries: "multiple streaks of broken skin with swelling on the child's back, bottom, and legs consistent with being hit with a switch or cord, multiple abrasions approximately 2 inches in diameter on the child's bottom with broken skin, swelling and bruising to the child's hands, swelling and bruising to the child's feet, abrasions to the child's hands, bruising and red marks to the child's back, and streaks of broken skin to the child's abdomen. Officers observed that some of the abrasions appeared to be infected and had decaying flesh."

According to the affidavit, Phipps told detectives he had been using belts, switches and shoes to discipline the child. He said he did it in response to bad behavior and "spanking" her six to 10 times a day. He said he knew she needed medical attention but continued to discipline her anyway.

Wingo told detectives she had seen Phipps strike the child with a belt on multiple occasions but she never reported Phipps to law enforcement nor would she seek help or medical attention for her daughter.

According to the affidavit, the child was taken to a Lufkin hospital and later taken to a Houston hospital.

"This is still an ongoing investigation and the charges could be upped, depending on what we find," Young said.

Pulliam said the couple had just moved to Lufkin earlier this month. CPS had investigated a case when they lived in Houston following a complaint. But they took the child to a doctor, who found no marks or bruises on the child.

CPS has taken custody of that child as well as an infant which was born premature earlier this month and who is staying in a hospital

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