'She doesn't deserve to be a mother': Milton mom accused of beating daughter on Thanksgiving

A Milton woman is potentially facing more than three decades in prison after authorities say she was recorded maliciously punishing her 10-year-old daughter by beating her on Thanksgiving.

The Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office held a press conference Tuesday to describe the disturbing details in an ongoing investigation of 31-year-old Tomasina Joan Frate.

“I'm in year 40 in law enforcement. When somebody does something like this to a kid, this is one of the most disturbing things I've ever seen,” said Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson.

Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson talks at a press conference Tuesday about the arrest of Tomasina Joan Frate. The Milton woman is accused of beating her 10-year-old daughter on Thanksgiving.

According to an arrest report, deputies responded at 5:25 p.m. on Thanksgiving to a call made by family members who had to pull Frate off of her daughter. Johnson said Frate was mad because she believed her daughter had pushed her 3-year-old brother into the pool. The child reportedly fell in by accident and was quickly removed from the water unharmed.

“To discipline her, she jumps on top of her, throws her on the ground and starts punching her in the face and head with a closed fist,” Johnson said.

The Florida Department of Children and Families removed the children from the home and later provided deputies with footage from a video surveillance system set up inside the home. The video was of a separate incident that occurred a few days prior on Nov. 22 that shows Frate beating her daughter in the kitchen after accusing the girl of lying about moving a Crock-Pot, according to the report.

Original story: SRSO: Milton woman arrested twice in two days for two incidents of violent child abuse

Deputies would not play the video during the press conference because of the graphic nature but did play audio from it and described the events. The sheriff said the video shows the mother dragging the daughter by her hair across the kitchen floor and slamming her down.

“She drags her in front of the camera and beats her relentlessly,” Johnson said.

The audio captured the sound of the mother striking her daughter, calling her explicit names and accusing her of lying. The daughter can be heard crying and apologizing. Frate was aware of the camera recording her in the kitchen and pointed out to her daughter that the same camera would show whether she had moved the cookware, the report states.

“Anybody who watches this video will become so incensed with this woman,” Johnson said. “How anybody, much less a mother, can treat their own child this way — it's incredible.”

Also in the report, a caseworker stated the daughter told her she thought her mother moved the Crock-Pot on purpose so she would have an excuse to hit her daughter.

Family members intervened during the Thanksgiving incident by pulling Frate from her daughter and calling authorities. Frate was arrested on suspicion of child abuse and booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail. The report also said Frate grabbed a gun from her vehicle and threatened to take her own life in front of everyone.

Frate's husband was able to bond her out of jail the same night and deputies were called out to the home again the next day for a domestic disturbance. This time, Frate allegedly beat her husband with a belt. She was charged with domestic violence in that incident and was being held in jail Tuesday without bond.

Sheriff Bob Johnson provides numbers to call to report domestic violence after announcing the arrest of Tomasina Joan Frate during a press conference at the Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office in Milton on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021.

Assistant State Attorney Mark Alderman said Frate is facing one count of aggravated child abuse, which carries a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. A separate charge of child abuse without great bodily harm could add another five years of prison time. He added that the video shows Frate maliciously punishing the child.

“I'm going to go out of my way to make sure she goes to prison for this, because she doesn't need to be around a child ever again,” Johnson said.

Johnson said authorities are investigating whether the children were previously abused. Frate does not have any previous arrests with Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office.

“You don't go from 'Hey, great Mother of the Year' to this overnight,” the sheriff said.

Johnson said it would be an open and shut case.

“We hate investigating stuff like this. She doesn't deserve to be a mother,” he said. “Hopefully, we'll take care of it to where she never will be again.”

Those facing domestic abuse can contact FavorHouse of Northwest Florida at 850-626-5600, or call the Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873.

Reporter Jennifer Rich can be reached at jrich@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Tomasina Frate: Milton mom accused of beating daughter on Thanksgiving

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