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Mother blames spider after toddler daughter is beaten to death

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FESTUS, Mo. -- A 21-year-old mother has been arrested after her 17-month-old daughter, Layla, was murdered and her death was blamed on a spider.

KTVI reports Taylor Lynn Fast faces a charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Taylor called police Sunday morning telling them her daughter had been bitten by a spider and that she was unconscious.

Police said they knew the story was bogus after they arrived.

Layla had severe injuries to her face and neck, and had bruising over most of her body.

"I've been a policeman for 32 years, and this is the worst case of child abuse I've ever seen," said Festus Police Chief Timothy Lewis. "There's nothing that even comes close to this. This child looked like a situation, say, if a child was involved in a car accident. It was horrible."

A three-year-old boy who was also in the home is being treated for a broken leg and bruises.

Taylor's boyfriend is being considered a person of interest in the case. She could face further charges after police interview the man.

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