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Arrested Just In Time to Celebrate News Years in Jail

Murder suspect, Marquell Howard was taken into custody today by the U.S. Marshals, Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force and delivered to the Lakeland Police Department. He was arrested without incident at 1233 Rawls Drive in Lakeland. 

The U.S. Marshals received a tip on his location and acted swiftly in taking him into custody. We would like to thank of all you who called in the many tips through Crime Stoppers and directly to LPD. Getting this fugitive off the streets was a top priority for LPD. One of the many reason for us to celebrate a Happy New Years with Howard off the street. 

On Tuesday, December 2, 2014, between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. the victims' wallet was stolen from his vehicle parked at the YMCA, 3620 Cleveland Heights Boulevard. At approximately 10:18 p.m., the victim’s credit card was used at Wal-Mart. The subject also used the victim’s credit cards at Burger King, Target, & Publix on the south side of Lakeland.

The suspect is described as a black male wearing glasses, a black beanie hat with white stripe, a gray t-shirt, blue shorts and black/white sneakers. The suspect’s vehicle is a dark color black or blue Lincoln.

Anyone with information on the identification of this individual is asked to contact the Lakeland Police Department, Detective Anderson at 863-834-8952, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477. To remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward, you must contact Crime Stoppers.

LPD Event #14-24592          Detective Anderson          Bulletin #CS 14- 51

Update on Infant Death from December 23, 2014

On December 23rd, the Lakeland Police Department investigated the tragic death of infant, Betsey Kee Stephens. The 22 day old infant died while in the custody of her parents who went to the Golden Corral to eat.


The Violent Crimes Detectives have worked endlessly on this case conducting interviews, background checks, reviewing evidence and preparing search warrants. The Medical Examiner findings revealed that the infant died of malnutrition as a result of starvation. Both parents have been taken into custody at this time and charged with First Degree Murder. 



On December 23rd at 6:10 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to assist EMS with an unresponsive infant at 4705 US Hwy 98 North (Golden Coral). A 22 day old infant, Betsey Kee Stephens, was discovered by the parents in the car seat unresponsive and they had called 911.

The parents advised they came from Indiana to visit family in the area. They had earlier checked into the Comfort Inn (3520 US Hwy 98 North). 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. After checking into the hotel, they drove to the Golden Coral restaurant to meet and eat with family members.

After arriving at the Golden Coral restaurant, the mother checked the infant’s feet again and noticed her feet were unusually cold and she got no response from the infant. At this time, 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 (LRMC). The infant was later declared deceased at LRMC.

Also present in the vehicle were the infants siblings, a 1 year old male and 2 year old female. They were sitting in their car seats and both appeared to be in good health. Both of the siblings are in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

The Medical Examiner ruled the manner of death for Betsey Kee Stephens as a homicide.  Preliminary investigation indicates the infant was deceased for at least 3 ½ hours prior to the mother calling 911. The parents have not been charged at this time.  This is still an ongoing investigation and detectives are working with the State Attorney’s Office and Medical Examiner’s Office as this case unfolds.


1.     Ruby Angeline Stephens, 23 years of age, 113 Oak Street West, Tennyson, Indiana.

2.     Roy Allen Stephens, 48 years of age, 113 Oak Street West, Tennyson, Indiana.

3.     Deceased – Betsey Kee Stephens, 22 days old. 113 Oak Street West, Tennyson, Indiana.