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.