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Couple Charged In Death Of 2 Year Old

Polk County Sheriffs Office Press Release

County Sheriff’s Office charged a mother and her live-in boyfriend following the death of her two-year-old boy in Davenport. He would have been three-years-old in October.

The couple have been in the Polk County Jail on other charges since Tuesday, July 31st, when the boy died.

The mother is 26-year-old Shannon Short, and her boyfriend is 26-year-old Christian Thompson. Both lived at 130 Memorial Park Avenue, #480, in Davenport, along with the victim, 2-year-old Harley Don Hiatt Jr.

Thompson has been charged with:

• First Degree Murder (F-C)

• Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child (F-1)

• Aggravated Child Abuse (F-1)

• Negligent Child Abuse with Great Bodily Harm (F-2)

• Possession of Marijuana (M-1)

• Possession of Paraphernalia (M-1)

His criminal history includes a 2012 arrest in Nacogdoches, TX, for possession of marijuana, and a February 2018 arrest by PCSO for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and home solicitation without a permit.

Short has been charged with:

• Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child (F-1)

• Negligent Child Abuse with Great Bodily Harm (F-2)

• Child Abuse (F-3)

• Failure to Report Child Abuse (F-3)

• Possession of Marijuana (M-1)

• Possession of Paraphernalia (M-1)

• VOP (Petit Theft) (M-1)

Her criminal history includes a 2014 arrest in Kaufman, TX, for criminal trespassing; a 2017 arrest in Mission, KS, for battery on LEO; and a January 2018 arrest by Haines City P.D. for grand theft.

“When you hear what this precious baby boy was put through, it’s sickening. His mother knew about the abuse, allowed it, and continued to leave him in the care of his abuser. She and her boyfriend even joked about it. The whole thing is heartbreaking, and I don’t think it’s possible for me to be more disgusted by their actions.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff.

According to their affidavits, on the morning of July 31, 2018, at about 3:01 a.m., the PCSO Emergency Communications Center (ECC) received a call in reference to an unresponsive toddler at the above listed address. The child was transported to Heart of Florida Hospital, where medical staff determined he had a brain bleed. The child, Harley Hiatt, Jr., was pronounced deceased at 6:55 a.m.

Visible bruising on his face, and a rash on his left arm and leg were noted.  When asked, Short stated that these marks were from Friday (July 27) when she left Harley in the care of her boyfriend, Thompson, while she was at work in Kissimmee. She further stated that Harley has suffered multiple injuries during the past two months, while she was at work and being watched by Thompson. Thompson texted her after the injuries occurred, stating such things as he was disciplining the child by hitting him with a belt. Detectives reviewed the text messages, including responses by Short such as “omg what did u do to my baby?” The various injuries included facial bruising, an injury to the boy’s penis, and a through and through wound on his bottom lip.

One text in June from Thompson said, “um ya son tryna kill hisself” referring to injuries the child incurred. Thompson explained the injuries as occurring when the child climbed on things and “fell” or pulled things down onto himself, such as a hot plate.

On July 23rd, Short called 9-1-1 and had the child transported to Heart of Florida Hospital because he had not opened his eyes for two days. She then expressed to Thompson via text message, “I think they calling CPS on me I think they bout to try to take Harley.”

On July 27th, Thompson sent her a text with a photo while she was at work, of the child’s face, saying that the boy scratched himself. When she got home and looked for herself, she said it didn’t look like scratches – it looked like welt marks that would happen if he had been hit in the face with a belt.

On July 28th and 29th, Short said the child was not acting like himself, and clinging to her. She said he did not have a fever and was not vomiting.

On July 30th, Short woke up around 11:00 a.m. and gave the child some juice, then laid down with him until around 4:15 p.m., at which time she got a ride from Lyft to Amscot to cash a check, leaving the victim with Thompson. She then went to Publix to buy groceries, and texted a friend to ask if the friend had any weed for sale.

When she got home, she found Harley lying on the floor, with vomit nearby and vomit on the bed. She put him on the bed then went outside to smoke a cigarette. She decided not to seek medical attention because she was afraid DCF would be called. Around  6:15 p.m. she gave Harley some ibuprofen and antibiotics, and left him with Thompson to go purchase and smoke marijuana at a friend’s house.

Around 9:30 p.m., Short returned home, and found the victim moaning as if in pain, holding his stomach, and kicking his legs. He was dry heaving. She attempted to give him a bath but was concerned his face would go underwater, since he kept doubling over in pain. She gave him more ibuprofen and antibiotics, then laid him down in the bedroom so she and Thompson could go in the living room to smoke marijuana.

At 3:00 a.m. on July 31st, Harley’s eyes rolled back into his head, and he became limp and unresponsive. Short then called 9-1-1.

During an autopsy, Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Nelson noted numerous bruises on Harley’s face and forehead, consistent with being struck by a belt. There was a scar below his bottom lip, and scratches on his nose and forehead. His bowel was lacerated, causing an infection called peritonitis, and several areas of hemorrhage in his skull and within his brain. The bowel laceration and cerebral hemorrhage were the result of blunt force trauma.

Dr. Nelson stated the peritonitis was consistent with an injury occurring two or three days prior to the July 30th symptoms being present, and that Harley would have survived if medical treatment had been sought on July 30th.

Harley’s cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma, and the manner of death homicide.


Based on the evidence, Christian Thompson engaged in malicious punishment of this child for some time. In doing so, Christian Thompson demonstrated a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life that a reasonable person would have or should have known would likely cause death or great bodily injury.

Furthermore, based on the circumstances surrounding the child’s death, and as a result of the continuing pattern of knowing and willful abuse, it is believed Christian Thompson committed an aggravated battery causing the laceration to the child’s bowel, (i.e. great bodily harm), which ultimately led to the child’s death. A person who commits aggravated child abuse which results in the child’s death commits First Degree Felony Murder.

Shannon Short actively encouraged Christian Thompson to commit an act that would or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to the victim. This is evidenced by her admission to texting Christian Thompson telling him to “fuck him up” followed by an angry emoji referring to the victim.

Christian Thompson and Shannon Short failed to provide the victim with medical care to maintain the child’s physical health. Furthermore, Shannon Short failed to protect the victim from the abuse committed by Christian Thompson. The failure to provide medical care and to protect the victim from abuse ultimately resulted in the victim’s death.

Shannon Short, who is over the age of the 18 and resides in the same residence with the victim and Christian Thompson, knowingly and willfully failed to report the suspected aggravated child abuse she believed to be occurring to the victim by Christian Thompson.

Shannon Short encouraged the abuse, failed to report the abuse, and failed to protect the victim from the abuse. In doing so, Shannon Short demonstrated a course of conduct showing reckless disregard of human life, or for the safety of persons exposed to its dangerous effects, that a reasonable person would have or should have known

would likely cause death or great bodily injury. Shannon Short subjected the victim to continuous abuse which ultimately resulted in the victim’s death.

Christian Thompson and Shannon Short are not from Florida and have lived in this state less than a year. They do not have family or friends in Florida. Additionally, they both have family and other children living in Texas and California.

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