A 3-week-old baby girl starved to death in Florida, sitting in a car seat in a restaurant parking lot while her parents ate at a buffet restaurant.
The baby, Betsey Kee Stephens, died on December 23, but a medical examiner this week determined her cause of death. The report found that the baby girl starved to death after having lost more than one-third of her body weight since she was born.
Dr. Vera Volnikh, assistant medical examiner in Polk County, found that baby Betsey appeared to have not eaten at all.
“When we examined her stomach, small, intestine and large intestine, all of them were empty,” Volnikh said. “There was no fat tissue on this baby.”
The family had traveled to Florida from Indiana for the holidays.
The baby’s death made national headlines in December, prompting outrage across not only Florida but the entire country. Police in Florida said it was clear that Betsey suffered for all of her short life.
“She suffered tremendously over the 22 days that she was alive,” said Mike Link, assistant chief of Lakeland Police.
The tragic death of Betsey Kee Stephens is not the only story of alleged child killing making the news this week. Joyce Hardin Garrard was convicted earlier this year of killing her 9-year-old granddaughter Savannah by making the young girl run to her death, and this week, a jury voted that the grandmother should spend life in prison.
Savannah Hardin died in February of 2012 after her grandmother forced her to run laps in the backyard while carrying sticks and branches. The young girl had allegedly lied to her grandmother about eating a candy bar, and Joyce Hardin Garrard was overheard saying the girl would be punished.
Savannah began vomiting as she was running and then had a seizure and collapsed. She died in a hospital three days later, and both her grandmother and stepmother were charged with murder.
“That lady right there ran her granddaughter until she was on her knees begging, ‘I’ve got to stop’,” District Attorney Jimmie Harp said in his closing arguments.
In Florida, the death of Betsey Kee Stephens is still under dispute. A lawyer for her mother is disputing the findings that the baby died of malnutrition, saying that the medical examiner did not give a complete examination or tests.
On Friday, a judge denied bail to 48-year-old Roy Stephens, who was married to the baby’s mother but not Betsey’s father. Both he and Betsey’s mother, 23-year-old Ruby Stephens, have been charged with first-degree murder after the 3-week-old baby girl allegedly starved to death.
[Image via Stephens Family/Mirror]