A high school teacher in Florida has been arrested and charged with custodial interference after allegedly hiding a child in her home days after he was reported missing by his parents.
The teacher has been identified as 31-year-old Kelly Simpson (pictured in her mugshot, above). Simpson was arrested in the city of Port Charlotte, Florida on Wednesday and charged with one count of interfering with the custody of a minor.
According to WEAR-TV, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office had been looking for the child since last Friday when he was first reported missing by his parents.
It is unclear as to the age or identity of the child. While Simpson is a teacher at Charlotte High School in the Florida town, information has not been released indicating whether or not the minor is a student of hers at that school.
According to a statement released by Port Charlotte cops to People on Thursday evening, deputies eventually tracked down the child after a tip led them to Simpson’s home.
The statement reads in part that Simpson picked him up “from an unknown location,” and adds:
“While investigators were attempting to locate [the child], information they received led them to the home of Kelly Simpson. Investigators successfully recovered the juvenile located inside the home of Simpson.”
Now, according to the police statement, Simpson is accused of hiding the child at her home “while having knowledge of his missing endangered status.” Per People, it was unclear if Simpson had entered a plea on the charges as of Thursday night.
The Charlotte County Public Schools are aware of the arrest. According to WINK News, the district released a statement about the investigation on Wednesday. In it, the district reported they have placed Simpson on administrative leave:
“Charlotte County Public Schools takes an incident such as this very seriously. The safety, protection and well-being of our students is a top priority. The teacher arrested was employed at Charlotte High School and has been placed on Administrative Leave. Charlotte County Public Schools can not comment on the arrest as there is an ongoing investigation by the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.”
Beyond that, there is little information about the circumstances behind the situation with the child leading to Simpson’s arrest.
However, per WEAR-TV, law enforcement officials were keen to remind the public about the severity of custodial interference. On Thursday, deputies warned the public that anyone who has “knowledge of the whereabouts of a missing juvenile or assists with the concealment of a juvenile” can face criminal charges as in this instance.
Now, cops say the investigation is ongoing…