A Charlotte High School teacher has been arrested for kidnapping a teenager who has been missing since August 12. The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office says the information the detectives obtained from the boy’s parents led them to the teacher’s home.
Police were looking for the child when the boy’s parents told them something that led them to the home of Kelly Simpson, a 31-year-old Florida teacher who lives in Port Charlotte. On Wednesday, August 17, the teenager was found at Simpson’s home by police, who subsequently arrested Simpson. “Investigators were able to locate and retrieve the child who was at Simpson’s home,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
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According to the sheriff’s office, Simpson took the boy from an undisclosed location and hid him in her home, despite knowing he was reported missing and in danger. Simpson was posted $5,000 bail on Aug. 17, and prison records show he was charged with interfering with custody of a minor. The Charlotte County School District said in a statement to WFTX that Simpson has been placed on leave from her job at Charlotte High School.
“An event like this is taken very seriously by Charlotte County Public Schools,” the statement said. “It is very important to us that our students are safe, secure and healthy.” Charlotte County Public Schools cannot comment on the arrest as the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office is still investigating the matter,” it concluded.
On Wednesday, August 10, a 32-year-old preschool teacher from Dunedin, Fla. was arrested for hitting and punching a 4-year-old boy in the head many times. The woman was accused of abuse and fired from the preschool, the Kindercare Learning Center. A witness heard screams coming from the direction of the playground, according to an affidavit from the Pinellas County Sheriff. As she walked over, she saw the preschool teacher repeatedly hit the boy on the back of the head and the sides of the head with an open hand and closed fist.
The witness also said that Richards pushed and threw the child to the ground while she continued to hit him. The teacher was released later in the day after posting $5,000 bail.