Baby found starved to death in Florida, parents charged with murder: Police
Letitia Stein, REUTERS
First posted: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 01:20 PM EST | Updated: Tuesday, December 30, 2014 01:27 PM EST
TAMPA, FLA. - The parents of a 22-day-old baby found starved to death in Florida have been charged with first-degree murder, police said on Tuesday, accusing them of neglecting the suffering infant.
Ruby Stephens, 23, and Roy Stephens, 48, of Indiana were visiting relatives in central Florida on Dec. 23 when they called for emergency help after discovering the baby was unresponsive in their car, according to Lakeland Police.
Betsey Kee Stephens was declared dead at the hospital.
"She suffered tremendously over the 22 days that she was alive," Mike Link, assistant chief of Lakeland Police, told a news conference.
He called photographs of the baby "absolutely horrible."
A medical examiner found that the baby died of malnutrition from starvation, Link said, noting that she weighed four pounds and one ounce at death, having lost about 2-1/2 pounds since her birth.
Normal weight for her age was about eight pounds, he said.
Police said the couple from Tennyson, Indiana, were traveling with two other children, ages 1 and 2. Both appeared healthy and have been taken into protective custody.
The mother told authorities that after arriving at a hotel earlier on Dec. 23, she had checked the baby's feet and covered them with a blanket because they were cold.
The family went to a restaurant to eat with relatives. After arriving, the mother again checked the baby's feet and found them cold, with the infant unresponsive in her car seat.
Baby found starved to death in Florida, parents charged with murder: Police | Wo