Tampa, FL – A little over a month ago, Justin Garwacki Sr. traveled from Tampa to Missouri to pick up his 3-year-old son, John Taylor Baxley. The little guy was to spend the summer with his dad, dad’s girlfriend, Kara O’Connell, and his stepsister. Just six weeks into his summer visit, John was dead. For six weeks, John was reportedly beaten and neglected by daddy and daddy’s warm hole. Apparently the kid just couldn’t do anything right. According to court documents, when sheriff’s deputies responded to the Garwacki/O’Connell household on August 10th, they found John unresponsive. He was bruised all over, had a bite mark on his calf and a broken arm. Though the exact cause of death is unclear, police believe daddy and the hole are the ones responsible. Garwacki told investigators that about a week before John’s death, he had the child in the bathtub and was pouring water over his head in an attempt to teach him how to hold his breath correctly. The toddler failed the breath holding test, so Garwacki smacked him upside the head, sending the kid sprawling in the tub and bruising his head in the process. To treat the bruise, Dr. Daddy heated a sock full of rice in the microwave and placed it on the kid’s forehead. Oops! Too hot! That left the kid with a bruise and a burn. The burn was left untreated and turned into an open, gaping wound. That was but one instance of cruelty.
When O’Connell was questioned, she admitted to her part in the abuse and neglect. She admitted to hitting the boy numerous times in the face, head and legs. When the little boy didn’t listen to her, she told detectives she picked him up off the floor by his throat. She also told police she was aware that beating the child was “excessive and wrong,” but that sure as shit didn’t stop her. On the day of John’s death, he failed the food eating test, too. Garwacki claims the child was not eating his food properly, so he repeatedly pummeled the kid in his head, face, stomach and genitals. He pulled the child’s chair out from underneath him and said the boy landed on the floor with a “thud.” O’Connell says that later that day, after eating a cereal bar and drinking some juice, John began to throw up, so she put him in the bathtub. She said he just stopped breathing right about then. She didn’t call 911 though – she waited until Garwacki got home and told him to call. It is unclear how much time passed between John’s last breath and the call to 911.
Garwacki, 26, and O’Connell, 29, have been charged with aggravated child abuse, neglect of a child, and failing to report neglect of a child. Additional charges are anticipated. The couple’s biological child, a 3-year-old girl, was place in protective custody. It does not appear as if she suffered any abuse at the hands of the monsters that killed her step-brother.aggravated child abuse, Child Neglect, Florida, Tampa