Lake Wales, Florida – A Lake Wales mother has succumbed to her injuries she suffered trying to stop her separated, suicidal husband from taking their son from Kirkland Gym where he was playing basketball. The couple had recently become separated. Beverly Smith Stephens put herself in harms way to stop her husband, Travis Edward Stephens from taking their son. Beverly was employed at Publix for 13 years and was a member of God’s Revival Center by Faith. She is survived by her two sons, Joshua (9) and Caleb (6)
On November 20, 2018 one of the couples two son’s was at the gym with Beverly when the father, Travis Edward Stephens, “showed up agitated” wanting to remove their son, according to a Lake Wales Police affidavit. The victim and defendant got into a verbal argument while the defendant forced their son into his vehicle, according to a witness statement in the affidavit. The victim tried to stop the defendant from taking the child from the scene but was unsuccessful in her efforts. According to affidavit another witness stated the male locked himself in the vehicle, at which time the female began pleading with the male to open the door.
Beverly Stephens then climbed on top of the hood of the van and then on top of the van. According to a witness statement, Travis Stephens then, fully aware of the fact that Beverly Stephens was on top of the van, put the vehicle in drive and accelerated quickly North on 3rd St., going approximately 80 ft. Travis Stephens then, allegedly, made a hard sudden right turn into a parking lot on the East side of the road across from 411 N. 3rd St. The hard right turn threw the victim off the top of the van to the ground. According to the affidavit it appeared Travis Stephens intentionally tried to throw the victim off the van. Travis Stephens then sped away from the scene. Beverly Stephens suffered severe injuries to her head and was flown to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center due to her traumatic head injury. She succumbed to her injuries on Wednesday, November 21, 2018. She was kept on life support so that her organs could save the lives of others.
What witnesses didn’t know, but Beverly Stephens knew, was Travis Stephens had recently been baker acted for suicidal thoughts. According to a report, by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, someone had called regarding Travis Stephens had threatened to kill himself. On November 4, 2018 contact was made with, Travis Stephens, who advised deputies that he was considering jumping from a moving vehicle, but it was last night and he does not want to do that anymore. Here is an excerpt from the rest of that report (editor’s note: this is a matter of public record).
He advised that he is not feeling suicidal at the moment. He advised that he does often have suicidal thoughts, and they come and go. Travis could not advise why the thoughts come and go, or what the source of the thoughts were. Travis advised that he does see Dr. xxxxx at xxxxxxx in Lakeland, for counseling sessions. He advised that he thinks it might be time to call Dr. xxxxx and have his medication strengthened. Travis is currently taking Trazadone. He advised that tried to commit suicide by shooting himself in the chest in 2003 following the death of his mother. Travis advised that there were no firearms inside of his residence, and none were observed during my investigation. Travis advised that he has been Baker-Acted a few times in the past, but did not wish to be Baker-Acted for this incident.
Based on my investigation, it was determined that Travis was refusing voluntary examination, and unable to determine for himself whether or not examination was necessary. Without care or treatment Travis would suffer from neglect or refusal to care for himself. Such neglect or refusal would pose a substantial harm to his well-being. It was not apparent that such harm could be avoided by the help of willing family members or friends. There is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment, Travis would cause serious bodily harm to himself.
Travis was transported to Peace River Crisis Stabilization Unit in Bartow under Baker-Act protocol.
Witnesses also didn’t know that Travis Stephens has a previous arrest and in Polk County for contempt of court – violation of injunction protection domestic violence back in 2010 and criminal mischief. Travis Stephens took a guilty plea deal and serviced 6 months probation for those charges.
The Lake Wales Police Department is currently working with the state attorney’s office on whether charges will be upgraded. Currently Travis Stephens has a $100,000 bond and a court date on 12/26/2018 for Domestic Violence – Aggravated Battery. Aggravated Battery is usually charged as a second degree felony with a maximum sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment and $10,000 in fines.