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Woman accused of hitting 9-year-old with belt

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Updated: 2/10 12:11 am
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- A 46-year-old woman is facing a charge of child abuse after police say she hit a 9-year-old multiple times with a belt.

The Department of Children and Families said the woman is the girl's mother. The agency is investigating the case.

A Gainesville Police report states Elaine Howe was arrested and booked into the Alachua County Jail on Friday after the child’s doctor reported bruises and scars on the girl’s arms.

"We are glad that this doctor reported the abuse because the state laws have been strengthened here in Florida that require anyone that suspects that the child is a victim of abuse and neglect to report it," said John Harrell, DCF spokesperson.

According to the police report, Howe told a Gainesville police officer during the investigation that she struck the 9-year-old with a belt because the child wouldn't listen and refused to do her homework and chores.

The girl is in the care of relatives and DCF has arranged for her to received medical check ups. Howe bonded out of jail Sunday and is facing a third-degree felony for cruelty toward a child.

If you suspect a child is the victim of neglect or abuse call the DCF hotline at
1-800-962-2873.
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