A group of Florida teens are facing attempted murder charges after admitting to running over the mother of a boy they’d beaten up as part of an ongoing romantic dispute, authorities said.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said the four teens face multiple charges, including attempted felony murder and burglary with assault for the savage Monday afternoon attack that left the mother in critical condition at a local hospital. According to authorities, 18-year-old Elijah Stansell was the ringleader of the attack and brought his three friends—Raven Sutton, 16; Kimberly Stone, 15; and Hannah Eubank, 14—to another teen’s house about an hour outside of Orlando to “handle” an ongoing romantic dispute.
“This was a coordinated, planned attack, carried out by a group of teens who beat up a teen then ran over his mother, leaving her for dead,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “I can’t even fathom teenagers doing something so heinous. Our prayers are with this family.”
Authorities say deputies responded to a home in Polk City at 2:50 p.m. on Nov. 9. At the home, deputies found a teen who’d been beaten up, and his mother, who was critically injured after being “run over by a van.” Neither of the victims has been identified by authorities.
Authorities tracked down the group of teens allegedly responsible for the attack after learning that Stansell had brought his three friends over to the house to settle the romantic dispute. The details of the dispute were not immediately clear.
According to an affidavit first obtained by ClickOrlando, the teenage victim and Stone were arguing on social media, where the 15-year-old threatened to “hit” the other and to have her new boyfriend “handle it.” On Monday, the sheriff’s department said it was Stone who provided the group with the victim’s address, but the 15-year-old “remained in the van” while the other three went to deal with the teenager.
Authorities say the rest of the group got out of the van and “banged” on the teenager’s front door. The teenager ended up coming out of the side of the house and into the carport to see who was there, prompting the teens to run to the carport, where Stansell “physically attacked him.” Sutton also participated in the beating, while Eubank recorded the incident on her cellphone, the affidavit states.
As the teenager retreated back into his home, Stansell and Sutton allegedly followed. At the same time, the teenager’s mother returned home—which prompted the high-schoolers to run off.
Authorities say the teen’s mom followed her son’s attackers and “watched them get into their van, which was parked across the street.”
“She began taking photos of the suspects and the van with her cell phone,” authorities said in a statement. “Though there was enough room for the van to maneuver around her as she stood in the roadway, Stansell intentionally ran into her, then over her, before fleeing the scene.”
Authorities say that in addition to several eyewitnesses to the crime, investigators obtained home surveillance footage that showed the entire attack in detail. One of the witnesses was a Polk County utilities employee who followed the group’s van in his county-issued truck for about five minutes before calling 911 for help.
“I’m following a van—you probably just got a phone call—I’m following a van that just ran this lady over,” the man said in a 911 call obtained by ClickOrlando. “I’m trying to stay back, I don’t know if they have a gun or what, but they just mowed that poor lady down,” he said.
The mother remains in “very critical condition” at a local hospital after suffering several injuries, including a traumatic brain injury, fractured skull, broken leg, and damage to her lungs. Authorities say all four teens have since admitted to “fleeing the scene on foot, being in the van where Stansell intentionally ran over the victim’s mother, and then fleeing in the van after critically injuring her.”
Stansell, who is being held at Polk County Jail, is also facing three counts of lewd and lascivious battery on a minor, who is 15 years old, for another incident discovered after his arrest, the sheriff’s department said. The other three teenagers were taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center since they are minors.