LPD News Blog


Stay informed with the Lakeland Police Department News Blog.

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. 

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 May 18, the Lakeland Police Department officially formed the cold-case team of Detective Scott Kercher and Detective Brad Grice. In light of this recent focus on cold cases and attention by the State Attorney’s Office and The Ledgers series on cold cases, “It takes a community to solve a murder”, an indictment was served yesterday on Sylvester Nathaniel Smith, 32 yrs old,  for First Degree Murder. We are hoping that this is one many cases to come as a result of the newly formed Cold Case Unit.


On October 24, 2013 at approximately 10:12 p.m., several 911 calls were received about gunshots in the area of Gilmore Avenue and Parker Street. Patrol Officers responded and upon arrival located, Thomas Howard Garrison, 43 yrs old, with two gunshot wounds. Garrison was found lying at the end of the driveway at 708 East Parker Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Sylvester Nathaniel Smith is already incarcerated in the Polk County Jail on 3cts of Aggravated Battery with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. These charges stem from a January 19th shooting at the Elks Lodge; 1026 N. Texas Avenue in which one victim was shot 5 times, another victim 1 time and a bystander was hit in the face with the handgun knocking him to the ground.  Smith was identified as the suspect in that case and has been in jail.

No other details are being released on the indictment at this time. A copy is attached.