Brooksville man, Daniel Smith, arrested after teacher spots abuse in student

9:17 PM, May 23, 2013   |    comments
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Daniel Smith was arrested after a 6-year-old boy told deputies Smith held his head down with one foot and struck him several times with a belt before pouring dish soap in his eyes as punishment for not taking a bath.


Brooksville, Florida- An observant teacher and a guidance counselor from Brooksville Elementary School are seen as heroes Thursday night after they spotted signs of possible abuse in one of their young students, and took action.

According to the arrest affidavit, the teacher noticed a bruise on a six-year-old student's right hip Wednesday morning, and once she notified the guidance counselor, the six-year-old was questioned, and he shared his story. 

"This is an awesome school," said Cindy Loeffelholz, whose grandchildren attend Brooksville Elementary.

Parents and grandparents said it started with the staff- the teacher and guidance counselor in particular- who helped lead Hernando Sheriff's deputies to 25-year-old Daniel Aubrey Smith. 

Smith has since been arrested for allegedly abusing the six-year-old boy. According to the report, Smith is a family friend who visits the boy's home once in awhile.

"That's great. If something like that is going on with my grandchildren I'd want to know," said Loeffelhoz.

Lilly Amundsen's two children also attend Brooksville Elementary, and is glad to see the teacher take notice. 

"A lot of times people are too afraid to say anything, so it's nice to know someone is willing to take the extra step," she said.

According to the arrest affidavit, the boy told deputies that around 7 Tuesday evening, Smith held his head down with one foot and struck him several times with a belt. The boy told deputies that Smith then poured dish soap in his eyes as punishment for not taking a bath.  

The deputy noticed other injuries on the child: a swollen and red right eye, along with a small abrasion above the eye, a large bruise on his right forearm and another on the left side of his neck.

The affidavit continues, saying the boy said "he is scared of Daniel Smith because Daniel hurts him."

One deputy said Smith remembered hitting the boy with the belt and then said "he may have taken the punishment a little bit too far."

"The teacher noticing something is going on saved him in the long run," said Amundsen while pointing out that the boy may have been too scared to ever report the alleged abuse himself. 

According to the deputy's report, the student missed 39 school days this year for unknown reasons. The affidavit says the child lived with a woman who said she was detoxing from drugs -meth and pills specifically- over the last few days, so she did not know what happened.

The child has been removed from the home and is in the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

Follow 10 News Reporter Isabel Mascarenas on twitter @IzzyMascarenas

Isabel Mascarenas

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