- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

PHOENIX (AP) - A Phoenix couple is accused of child abuse for allegedly striking their daughter in the back with a tree branch wrapped in duct tape.

According to court records, 37-year-old Melissa Nicole Loyd and 43-year-old Michael Edward Dugger also forced the child to eat food from the trash.

Authorities say the couple remains jailed and are facing 17 counts of child abuse.

Police say Loyd is on lifetime probation for child abuse from an incident years ago involving another child.

They say a witness contacted a child abuse hotline on Oct. 3 and reported seeing a huge lump on the girl’s back.

Police went to the couple’s home and saw injuries to the child’s back and face.

Loyd reportedly told police the girl injured herself when she fell outside while playing.

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