Pensacola, FL – A man who viciously tortured his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter died at a local hospital on Tuesday, one week after he was found hanging in his jail cell.
Investigators said that 37-year-old Andrew Bennett Ross Celaius used a cell phone and surveillance equipment to record himself shocking the toddler with a dog collar and burning her with a blowtorch, WGN reported.
“One of the more disturbing videos shows the child actually wearing the dog collar,” Escambia County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Chip Simmons told WEAR.
“You can hear the sounds of the dog collar being activated and then the shrieking and the pain that the child has suffered as a result of this,” Deputy Simmons said.
“We had a number of instances where this individual, the suspect would use an airsoft gun to just shoot a sleeping child, for no other reason but to wake the child up and hurt the child,” Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan told WGN.
Celaius also threw a full water bottle at the sleeping two-year-old girl, and tormented her by wearing a werewolf mask, according to police.
“The level of terror that this child was put through…[anything] you could do to a child to terrorize her, this child lived through that,” Sheriff Morgan said.
The little girl’s mother, Maranda Mixson, said she was not aware of the abuse, which was discovered when she brought the toddler to the hospital for treatment of what she allegedly believed was ringworm.
The “ringworm” marks were actually burns.
The abuse lasted for over two months, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
Investigators are also working to determine whether or not any of the videos were put online or shared with anyone.
“Right now, we have no proof the videos were shared or sold or anything else, but there is a market for — just like there is for child pornography — films involving torture,” Sheriff Morgan said. “But we don’t have any indication of that right now.”
Mixson’s stepfather, James Clay, said that child protective services have since removed all three of Mixon’s children from her care, according to WEAR.
Clay said that “all the rooms were wired” in the home, and that police were sifting through “over a thousand pieces of evidence.”
“The important takeaway is Maranda knew about this,” he declared. “I’m asking the mayor’s office, the district attorney and the sheriff’s office to press formal charges against Maranda and throw her in prison for abusing her children.”
“I hope Maranda burns in hell for what she’s done to those kids,” Clay added.
Mixon was charged with child neglect in April, and has since been charged with aggravated child neglect, WEAR reported.
Celaius’ friend, Eric Everett Furnans, was arrested for allegedly destroying evidence of the little girl’s abuse, WEAR reported.
Celaius was found hanging in his jail cell at approximately 11 p.m. on May 1, just hours after he was charged with six counts of aggravated child abuse, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
Sheriff Morgan said that jail activity logs and security footage showed that detention staff had been monitoring and checking inmates as per policy when Celaius carried out his suicide attempt.
Investigators said that Celaius used an item in his cell to hang himself, but did not specify what item was used.
He was rushed to a local hospital, where he remained until his family authorized his life support to be terminated.
Celaius was pronounced dead at 1:13 p.m. on Tuesday.
In 2006, Celaius was charged with murder in the death of a young child, but was later found not guilty, according to WGN.