The parents of the infant that died during a family trip to Lakeland have been charged with first degree murder.
According to the Lakeland Police Department, the parents, 23-year-old Ruby Angeline Stephens and 48-year-old Roy Allen Stephens have been taken into custody.
The Medical Examiner findings revealed that the infant, 22-day-old Betsey Kee Stephens, died of malnutrition as a result of starvation. She weighed more than two pounds less than when she was born.
"The pictures are absolutely horrible. Absolutely horrible, guys. It really is,” said Lakeland Assistant Police Chief Mike Link. “I would not want to show them to you. I wouldn't want to show them to the public."
According to police, the couple from Tennyson, Indiana was visiting Lakeland Dec. 23 and went to a Golden Corral on US Highway 98 North. While at the restaurant, the couple called authorities after they say they noticed their daughter had unusually cold feet and was unresponsive in her car seat.
The Lakeland Fire Department and Polk County Fire Rescue responded and the baby girl was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center. The infant was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
Barbara McKinney, a waitress who works across the street from the couple's home in Indiana, didn't notice problems.
"No, I didn't think anything was odd. They seemed really friendly with everybody. I don't remember seeing them argue or anything,” McKinney said.
Police said Roy Stephens was not the baby's biological father and that he didn't pay attention to the baby and all that caused friction in the couple's marriage.
Police said the mother had scheduled a doctor’s visit for the baby December 18th because she was concerned the baby wasn't doing well but she never made it to that appointment.
Officials say the death of a second infant has also been ruled a homicide, this time in Auburndale. Little is known about this case, which involves a 1-month-old infant. No arrests or charges have been filed at this time, officials said.