A Hernando woman faces two felony counts of aggravated child abuse after Citrus County Sheriff’s Office investigators said Merry Elizabeth Teller tied a boy to a chair and restricted his breathing.
The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and members of the US Marshall Task Force arrested Teller on Tuesday at her 510 West Keller St. home after an investigation by the Florida Department of Children and Families and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office, according to Citrus County Clerk of the Circuit Court records.
The initial investigation against Teller included an interview with the child’s mother in Alachua County. The mother’s identity was redacted by the court, but she did not have custody of the child while Teller allegedly abused the child.
The child’s mother provided investigators with video on her cell phone of Teller, according to arrest documents. Investigators examined the phone and found videos that included on Sept. 29 Teller duct taping the child around his chest, hands and feet to a dining room chair, according to arrest records. The child tells Teller he is in pain from the bandage.
A second video, dated Oct. 5, 2019, shows Teller lecturing the child as he’s sitting on a dining room chair. She tells the child to breathe and then places her hand over the boy’s mouth and nose telling him to breathe again, according to arrest records. The child appears to be having trouble and becomes emotional.
She was taken to Citrus County Jail. Her bond was set at $20,000.