The mother and stepfather of a 6-year-old boy who drowned in a bathtub back in April have been indicted for murder and multiple other offenses in the shocking torture case.
Authorities say that Anthony Rouse was drowned in a bathtub weeks after he was locked away in a dog cage as punishment for “stealing” a “handful of noodles.” The day before he died, his mother allegedly texted “I wanna put him for adoption.”
Alize Seymore (a.k.a. Alize Blancita Rivera), 25, and Tre Shaquile Seymore, 27, tried and failed to pass off the boy’s death as a suicide, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. The mom and stepdad allegedly created a reward system whereby other boys in the home would be given candy or other food items if they joined in on physical abuse of Anthony.
“Jail is too good for them. Hell is too good for them,” Sheriff Judd told WTSP. “But that’s the only option we have.”
The defendants remain in the custody of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office without bonds, jail records show, and now they each face multi-count indictments.
Both defendants are charged with first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse, aggravate manslaughter of a child, two felony child abuse offenses, and causing a minor to become delinquent or dependent. Alize Seymore faces the additional charge of tampering with a witness in a capital felony case.
It’s alleged that the mother on April 22 or 23 “did knowingly use intimidation or physical force, or knowingly did threaten or attempt to threaten, or did offer pecuniary benefit or gain” to an individual for the purpose of causing that person to “withhold testimony or a record, document or other object from an official investigation” or to “alter, destroy, mutilate or conceal an object” or otherwise hindering or preventing that witness’ testimony.
According to a probable cause affidavit in the case, Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the Eagle Lake house of horrors on the afternoon of April 2022 after receiving a 911 call.
In an interview with investigators, Alize Seymore allegedly told police that she locked Anthony Rouse in the bathroom and told him to take a bath after he urinated on himself. She allegedly claimed she found the boy “lying face down in the water in the bathtub” after checking on him 20 minutes later, taking a break from her TikTok use and prying open the bathroom door with a fork.
Deputies found the bathroom had no electricity as the breakers had been cut, and there were no windows; the bathroom was “completely dark” while Anthony Rouse took a bath.
Authorities said they also learned that the defendants had sent incriminating texts in the days and weeks before Anthony’s death.
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: “Bro imma end up killing this fat b—, my house getting is f—ing dirty cause him, walls in garage turning f—ing black gt marks and s— like bro.”
Later, she allegedly sent her husband a video of Anthony Rouse locked in the cage, with Alize saying, “He [can] stay in that f—ing s— and rottttt.”
In the ensuing days, Alize Seymore allegedly texted “I hate him,” referring to the victim, and claimed she was “too busy with the other kids I love and care bout [sic].”
Ultimately, she allegedly expressed a desire to put Anthony up for adoption the day before the bathtub drowning.
According to the affidavit, one of Anthony’s siblings told investigators he initially lied about the circumstances of Anthony’s drowning because his mom threatened him, explaining the tampering with a witness charge in the indictment.
“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 said. “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.”
Investigators said the defendants often talked about putting Anthony Rouse in a dog cage to punish him and encouraged the other children in the home to abuse him and lock him inside.
“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 affidavit said. “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.”
Read the indictments here and here.
Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.
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Alize Seymore, Tre Seymore indicted in Anthony Rouse murder
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