POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said a 2-year-old child died after suffering from “long-term starvation” while in the care of his two parents.

Regis Johnson, 57, and Arhonda Tillman, 35, were charged with negligent child abuse after deputies said they neglected their daughter for an extended period of time.

According to Sheriff Judd, the toddler gained a collective “one ounce” between the time she was taken to a doctor in January 2020, until she died on May 10, 2022.

Arhonda Tillman (Left) and Regis Johnson (Right) (Credit: Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

“The baby should have been 32 lbs,” Judd said. “The baby should have been talking, putting sentences together, asking questions … running jumping, and playing. When this baby dies on May 10, she couldn’t stand, she couldn’t talk, she couldn’t walk.”

Johnson told deputies the child had recently been fed, but a medical examination found “zero food” in the stomach of the child and “slight traces” of fecal matter in her intestines, according to Judd.

“The child suffered long-term starvation,” Judd added. She only weighed 9.5 pounds at the time of her death.

Judd called the body of the child a “heartbreaking sight” adding it was “just bones and skin.”

“There aren’t adequate words to explain our frustration and our sadness,” Judd said, adding the sheriff’s office will conduct an investigation into the cause of death of the child.

“This is egregious and should never have occurred. Because of the actions of these parents, this little girl will never have the opportunity to grow up. If parents don’t want their child, there are resources like Safe Place locations – fire stations, social service facilities, etc.” Judd added. “To learn more about Safe Place go to www.nationalsafeplace.org.”

A judge set bond at $500,000 each for Tillman and Johnson.

“The facts are horrifying, quite frankly,” the judge said at their first appearance hearing Thursday.

More charges could be added depending on the findings of the investigation.

Frank Robinson being taken into custody Thursday in Davenport

A man identified as Johnson’s brother, Frank Robinson, 64, was arrested Thursday on child abuse and failure to report charges.

He shared a home with Johnson, Tillman and their daughter and owned the car business where the toddler died.

The child’s official cause of death will not be released until the investigation concludes, but Judd said the cause was likely related to “long term starvation.”

The Florida Department of Children and Families began a medical neglect investigation in December 2019 which showed the child was consistently losing weight and her parents were not following up with doctor appointments, according to the sheriff’s office.

The case was closed after the parents followed DCF instructions and the child showed several positive weight checks, the sheriff’s office said.

“This investigation is underway. We don’t know what we don’t know about the DCF investigation at this time,” Sheriff Judd added. “I stop short of throwing stones at this point in the investigation at DCF because DCF is called to hundreds of events every day.”

News Channel 8 reached out to DCF for a comment on the case and was told the agency is working on a response.

Neighbors did not recognize Tillman or Johnson or remember ever seeing a child on the property.

“I wanted to cry because I feel like it’s bad. I’m just looking at my grandkids and you know, it’s really awful,” said Barbara Washington, who lives across the street on US 17-92.

“A baby? We would have taken food, we would have – the whole community would helped,” said Cynthia Wilson.