Authorities say a female Florida high school teacher stashed a 15-year-old student with a crush on her within her residence after learning that his mom and dad and police were searching for him.
Kelly Simpson, 31, a teacher at Charlotte High School where the teen attends, was arrested and charged with meddling with the custody of a minor on Tuesday after a relatively short standoff with police at her front door, according to police.
According to a police report, the boy, identified only by the initials D.J., got into an argument with his mom and dad last Friday after skipping school and snatched $100 from their household on Manatee Lane in Port Charlotte.
Last Thursday, the teen went missing without his cellphone or medication, prompting his concerned parents to make a report with the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.
Investigators combed the boy’s social media and attempted to track him down using banking information and digital devices, but days passed with no sign of the teen’s exact location.
Detectives received information that he was staying at an unspecified residence in Punta Gorda, Florida, but when they arrived, the individual who lived there told them that D.J. had been scooped up by a woman named Kelly driving a black vehicle.
The only Kelly the boy’s parents knew was his former English teacher, according to authorities.
According to court documents, they told investigators that their son ‘would constantly talk about Kelly and would even bring her coffee.’
When Detective Jonathan Murray arrived at Simpson’s house, she informed them she did know the boy and had seen the missing persons poster that had been placed around town, but when police officers asked her to search for the teen inside, she said he wasn’t there.
‘She replied that she did pick him up from Punta Gorda and then dropped him off at a gas station,’ according to Murray’s account.
Detectives pressed her to look inside the house, but she declined once more.
‘I asked again if I could clear the home and she stated no,’ the detective said. ‘Because [D.J.] was not there.’
She only admitted to being inside the house after the detective told her that if they discovered later that the kid was there, she could be charged with a crime.
‘Kelly came to a halt and stated that she would go inside and have [D.J.] come out,’ Murray explained. ‘Kelly went inside the house, and after about 10 minutes, [D.J.] came out.
According to police, the boy informed them that he was picked up by the teacher and managed to spend one night there.
‘Kelly Simpson was arrested for interfering with the custody of a minor after picking up the juvenile from an unknown location and concealing him inside her home while being aware of his missing and endangered status,’ according to the sheriff’s office in a statement.
She was released on $5,000 bail and asked for a public defender to represent her.
According to school administrators, Charlotte High School suspended her from teaching and placed her on administrative leave.