The mother and stepfather of a 6-year-old boy in Florida have been arrested for allegedly torturing the child — locking him in cages, asphyxiating him until he fell asleep, withholding food, and physically abusing him — until he ultimately drowned to death while locked in a pitch black bathroom with no electricity and being forced to take a bath.
Alize and Tre Seymore were taken into custody and charged with multiple counts of aggravated child abuse by aggravated battery and tampering with evidence in the death of young Anthony Rouse.
According to a probable cause affidavit, deputies with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded at about 3:20 p.m. on April 22, 2023, to an emergency call at a home in Eagle Lake on a report of a child drowning in a bathtub.
Once there, first responders found Anthony and took him to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa, where he was placed on life support. He was monitored for two days and showed no brain activity before doctors pronounced him dead.
An autopsy concluded that the boy had signs of regular physical abuse.
Alize Seymore’s interview with investigators
In an interview with investigators, Alize Seymore allegedly told police that the boy urinated on himself, so she locked him in the bathroom and told him to take a bath. She initially claimed that when she went to check on him after about 20 minutes, she found the door locked and her son not responding, so she used a metal fork to open the door. She found the boy “lying face down in the water in the bathtub.”
During the 20 minutes she failed to check on the boy, his mom said she was browsing the TikTok app.
Police said the bathroom had no electricity because they’d intentionally “cut the breakers” and no windows, meaning the room was “completely dark” when the child was taking a bath.
Authorities also noted that multiple children lived in the home, and their room had been turned into a makeshift prison cell.
“The lock to the bedroom where the children and victim slept was observed to be placed backwards,” the affidavit states. “The lock was purposely installed incorrectly to allow for the children to be locked within the bedroom. The bedroom did not have electricity and was filled with clothing items which were soiled with urine and feces.”
Incriminating text messages
Warrants were obtained for the parents’ cellphones, revealing a series of extremely disturbing text exchanges before and after Anthony’s tragic death.
For example, the couple on March 31 exchanged messages about the victim getting caught stealing “a handful of noodles” and being put in the “cage,” escaping, then being put back in the cage.
On April 1, Alize Seymore allegedly wrote the following about the victim: “Bro imma end up killing this fat bitch, my house getting is f—ing dirty cause him, walls in garage turning f—ing black gt marks and s— like bro.”
Later that night, she allegedly said the victim was trying to antagonize her to “hurt him,” saying she thinks he “gets a thrill” from it. She then sent her husband a video of the victim locked in the cage, saying, “He [can] stay in that f—ing s— and rottttt.”
The following day, Alize Seymore allegedly texted her husband about how he “stayed up all night drunk torturing” the victim.
On April 4 and April 7, Alize Seymore allegedly texted her husband, “I hate him,” in regard to the victim.
Alize Seymore got into a text exchange on April 15 with her husband about the victim allegedly hurting himself and said she “didn’t kno [sic] he did it” because she was “too busy with the other kids I love and care bout [sic],” the affidavit said.
On April 21, the day before Anthony drowned in the tub, his mother wrote, “I wanna put him for adoption,” the document said.
The victim’s sibling is interviewed by investigators
Investigators interviewed on May 3 one of the victim’s siblings for a second time, during which the sibling — whose name is redacted from the affidavit — allegedly said that he initially lied about the circumstances of Anthony’s drowning because his mom threatened him.
“During the interview, [redacted] disclosed the victim got in trouble for stealing food and as a result, Tre [Seymore] took the victim in to the bathroom to go ‘swimming.’ [Redacted] advised ‘swimming’ means ‘drowning,’ and ‘drowning’ means ‘holding the victim’s head underwater,'” the affidavit states. “While verbalizing this, [redacted] also motioned with his hand how Tre held the victim’s head underwater. [Redacted] stated Tre kept telling him to go to his room but he did not listen and watched Tre drown the victim. As a result, [redacted] stated he was standing in the bathroom during the incident.”
The sibling said Tre Seymore performed CPR on the victim when the sibling went to a different room.
Additionally, the sibling told investigators that Tre Seymore “performs a chokehold on all the boys to get them to go to sleep” and that the other children in the house “would get rewarded for ‘beating up’ the victim” with candy and other food.
Investigators summarized their findings as follows:
Alize and Tre frequently discussed with one another about willfully putting the victim into a dog cage as a form of torture and malicious punishment. Furthermore, Alize and Tre also used [the other children] as aides to help put the victim in the cage and hide the victim from people who would come over to the residence. Alize also facilitated locking the victim in his room along with her other children. Alize would direct [redacted] to lock the victim and other children in the bedroom. Alize also rewarded [redacted] and [redacted] with food/candy if they beat the victim up at her direction. Additionally, Tre would single out the victim and “take him swimming” as a form of torture and malicious punishment. The investigative findings above, coupled with the concerning observations of neglect noted at the incident location, show the on-going abuse and neglect perpetrated by Tre and Alize; ultimately, leading to the death of the victim.
The surviving children were placed in the care of the state Department of Children and Families following the arrests of Tre and Alize Seymore.
The sheriff’s office reportedly told St. Petersburg, Florida, CBS affiliate WTSP that more charges are expected to be filed against the couple.
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