Infant girl starved to death; parents facing murder charges

December 30th, 2014 by Staff

Ruby Angeline Stephens and Roy Allen Stephens were booked into the Polk County Jail.


(Orlando Sentinel) LAKELAND – A 22-day-old baby girl from Indiana who died after being found unresponsive in her car seat outside of a Lakeland restaurant last week starved to death, police announced today.

The parents of Betsey Kee Stephens, who called 911 from the parking lot of a Golden Coral after getting no response from the child Dec. 23, were taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder, police said today.
The suspects are Ruby Angeline Stephens, 23, and Roy Allen Stephens, 48, both of Tennyson, Indiana.

Lakeland police Sgt. Gary Gross said the agency will hold a news conference about the death and the arrests on Tuesday.
Detectives with the agency’s violent crimes department “worked endlessly on this case,” conducting interviews, background checks, reviewing evidence and preparing search warrants, Gross said in a report.

“The Medical Examiner findings revealed that the infant died of malnutrition as a result of starvation,” he added.

The Lakeland Police Department responded to assist EMS with an unresponsive infant at the Golden Coral at 4705 U.S. Highway 98 North at 6:10 pm. Dec. 23.

“The parents advised they came from Indiana to visit family in the area,” police said in an earlier report.
They checked into the Comfort Inn at 3520 U.S. Highway 98 before driving to the nearby restaurant to dine with family members.

“The mother advised that she had checked the infant’s feet and they appeared to be cold so she covered the infants’ feet with a blanket,” police said.

She checked the infant’s feet again later and noticed her feet were unusually cold and she got no response from the infant.
That’s when the parents called 911.

The Lakeland Fire Department and Polk County Fire Rescue responded and the infant was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where the infant was later declared deceased at LRMC.

The infant’s siblings, a 1-year-old boy and a 2-year-old girl, appeared to be in good health.

They are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The Medical Examiner ruled the manner of death as a homicide.

A preliminary investigation found the newborn was dead for at least 3 ½ hours before the mother called 911.


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