Mom Arrested After Child Dies in Dirty Motel

A woman was arrested on child abuse charges Tuesday after her 4-year-old daughter was found dead in a filthy motel room where they lived with the woman's husband and five other children, authorities said.

The two adults had earlier pleaded no contest to charges stemming from his use of a belt to beat at least two children, including the girl who died, officials said. The Department of Children & Families (search) briefly removed the two from the parents' custody, but the welfare agency ended its supervision more than a year ago.

An sheriff's spokeswoman said later Tuesday that the husband is not considered a suspect in the death, and may not have been in Orlando for several days.

Deputies found dirty diapers and trash littering the room at the extended-stay motel, and baby bottles containing moldy milk and what could have been maggots, said sheriff's spokeswoman Barbara Miller.

Kenya Hill (search), 27, called 911 Monday and an emergency operator tried to give her CPR instructions for little Kai Gadison, but Hill told the operator it was too late, Miller said.

"She said, 'Oh, no, the baby's cold. I think she's dead' and started crying," Miller said.

According to motel records, the family checked into the motel Aug. 9.

Kai, whose body was found on a bed, may have been dead a day or two, authorities said.

Nathan Gadison, the father of five of Hill's six children, served nearly six months in jail after pleading no contest in 2002 to charges of aggravated child abuse and child abuse, plus another nine months for a probation violation, state attorney's office spokesman Randy Means said. The jail time is typical for first offenders, Means said.

When Gadison was released from custody in the spring, his case was considered closed.

Hill pleaded no contest to two counts each of child neglect and failure to treat and report abuse. Kai and the woman's oldest child, Mikael Hill, now 5, were taken away, and Hill was sentenced to four years probation.

It was unclear when Hill regained custody of the two children, though she promised she would satisfy DCF requirements by December 2002. Agency spokeswoman Carrie Hoeppner, citing privacy concerns, refused to confirm whether that date was met. "The whole purpose and whole point of rehabilitation is to reunite families when we can," Hoeppner said.

As part of his sentence, Gadison was to have only supervised visits with his children, participate in child-rearing classes and take medication for his mental illnesses. There was no immediate indication if the court order had been lifted and Gadison had been given permission to again live with his family.

Miller said Gadison contacted detectives on Tuesday, saying he was in Alabama. She said he is cooperating.

DCF has been under scrutiny since the disappearance of Rilya Wilson, a foster child who was in the state-approved care of a woman with a lengthy criminal record.

Hill and the five other children — three girls and two boys, all under the age of 5 — were taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center (search). Miller said Hill complained of stomach pains and investigators found bruising on some of the children.

Hill was arrested early Tuesday and charged with six counts of child abuse and with violation of her probation. She was being held without bond. A call to her attorney was not immediately returned.