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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.


On December 26, 2014 at approximately 4:34 PM, the Lakeland Police Department received a medical call in which it was reported a subject was stuck in a tree and on fire. Further details were received indicating that a subject had been on a 30 foot ladder behind 1202 Shadow Drive trimming trees and was electrocuted by contacting a live power line. Lakeland Fire and Police units arrived on scene and confirmed that a male subject was suspended approximately 20 feet in the air in an obvious state of being electrocuted and deceased; he appeared to be secured by a safety harness. Lakeland Electric personnel responded to the scene and terminated electricity to the area. Lakeland Fire and Electric personnel worked together for some time to safely bring the victim to the ground.

Officers were able to interview one witness who advised that the subject had been trimming the trees at the request of the property manager for the complex during the past several days. He was using a long pole saw as well as a chain saw and was equipped with ropes and a safety harness. The witness advised that as the subject was maneuvering with the pole saw in hand(s), it struck a live power line immediately creating significant sparking and apparent electrocution. The witness immediately ran to his apartment to obtain his phone and call 911. 

Decedent: Marlin David Poutre,  9/13/54, 1439 Grace Street, Lakeland, Fla.



On December 27th, at 2:47 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to an apartment complex at 810 East First Street in reference to a disturbance/fight . Officers attempted to stop a vehicle at the scene with potential suspects at which time the vehicle fled from the officer. As the vehicle turned onto N. Stella Avenue, it swerved at two Lakeland Police Officers who were on foot in the area breaking up the disturbance. Both officers were nearly hit by the fleeing suspect and they felt as if the vehicle intentionally tried to run over them. Officer Kristopher Conner, 26, fired one round at the vehicle hitting the hood as it approached him. The suspects continued to flee turning west bound onto Memorial Blvd and LPD Officers pursued. The driver jumped out of the vehicle as it was moving at 1045 N. Brunnell Parkway and the vehicle rolled into a duplex causing minor damage to the duplex and parked car.

Officers gave chase of the driver and he was apprehended a short distance away. During the foot chase, Officer Deangelo Anthony was bitten by a Police K-9 and transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC). Officer Kristopher Conner received a fracture to his right arm during the apprehension of the driver and he was transported to LRMC.

The driver and two passengers were transported to LPD for questioning. They have not been identified at this time. The Violent Crimes Unit and State Attorney’s Office are investigating the shooting. An updated press release will be sent out this morning.


Driver – Ryan Young, 25 yrs of age, 630 Pear Street. Lakeland, Fla

Charges: 2cts of Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon (vehicle) and Aggravated Fleeing to Elude

Passengers – Released and not charged.