In Fla., a starved baby found dead by authorities has led to murder charges the girl’s very own mother and stepfather. Police say that Roy and Ruby Stephens of Ind. are charged with first-degree murder after neglecting their 22-day-old infant. She suffered tremendously, according to the medical examiner who performed her autopsy.
Huffington Post reports Dec. 31 that the baby girl found starved weighed just 4-pounds and 1-ounce. She lost 2-and-a-half pounds since she was born; the normal weight for a newborn at that stage is around 8-pounds, according to the medical examiner’s office.
The infant’s parents traveled to Fla. so they could visit relatives over the holidays. When they went back to their car from their holiday feast on Dec. 23, they called for help after finding their daughter unresponsive in the car, Lakeland Police report. The baby girl, Besey Kee Stephens, was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital.
Assistant Chief of Lakeland Police, Mike Link, speaks of the baby’s horrendous life she was forced to endure while alive. In a news conference he reveals that the innocent and helpless infant died in complete misery. The photographs, he says, are “absolutely horrible.”
“She suffered tremendously over the 22 days that she was alive.”
The medical examiner cites homicide resulting from “starvation due to neglect,” according to the arrest report. In addition to being baby being found starved to death, she was dehydrated and hadn’t been fed for six-to-seven hours before her death, the report indicates.
In speaking with police, the baby’s mother claims she breastfed the baby every few hours, but autopsy findings made her change her story. Ruby Stephens says she hadn’t fed her daughter throughout most of their one-day trip from Tennyson, Ind. to central Fla. She blames highway traffic for making it a hardship for her to nurse the infant. The mother also tells police that the girl showed signs of health problems, but they missed an appointment to have her weight checked at the doctor’s office before heading out on their Fla. vacation.
Roy Stephens isn’t the deceased baby’s biological father and he hadn’t paid much attention to her since she was born, police say. He and the baby’s mother did travel with two other children — ages 2 and 1 — and looked well taken care of and healthy. Those two children are now in protective custody.
The mother told authorities that after arriving at a hotel earlier on Dec. 23, she covered her daughter’s feet because they were cold. Later the Stephens went out to eat at a restaurant and when they returned to the car, the starved baby was found “completely unresponsive and cold to the touch.”