On Friday, February 22, 2013, Polk County Sheriff’s Office vice detectives received allegations that a Detention Deputy was involved with illegal narcotics. Through the investigation, detectives learned 24-year-old PCSO Detention Deputy Kyle Cothron had been dating a female inmate for the past six months. The inmate, 20-year-old Stephanie Brown, is currently in the Polk County Jail on a Failure to Appear Warrant for weekend work release.
Brown has a criminal history that includes 6 felony charges, 11 misdemeanor charges and 3 failures to appear. She has been charged and arrested by the Lakeland Police Department, the Auburndale Police Department, Winter Haven Police Department, and Polk County Sheriff’s Office on a variety of charges including possession of cannabis, possession of methamphetamine, possession of cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, larceny, burglary, battery domestic violence, disorderly conduct, failure to appear in court, and violation of probation. In November 2012, she was sentenced to 180 days of Weekend Work Release for a violation of her probation. When Brown then failed to show up for Weekend Work Release, a warrant was issued for her arrest and she was taken into custody.
Detectives learned during the past six months, Brown called Cothron with regularity from the jail pay phones. When detectives questioned both Cothron and Brown, both confirmed the on-going physical relationship.
A search of Cothron’s vehicle revealed a prescription bottle that contained Trazodone Hydrochloride – an antidepressant which requires a prescription. These pills were not the medication that was listed on his prescription bottle.
During the interview with Cothron he admitted to receiving Trazodone Hydrochloride from a friend and taking some of the pills without a prescription. He further admitted to smoking K2 and taking Xanax bars and Ecstasy within the past three months. Cothron admitted to taking prescription pain medications not prescribed to him within the past three years. Cothron further admitted he met Brown, his girlfriend, while she was incarcerated last year and he was working in the jail. He admitted to being present with Brown at several locations (not while in jail) where he observed her smoking marijuana, K2 and possibly methamphetamine.
Cothron also admitted to utilizing agency computers and software to determine whether or not Brown had a warrant. Once he learned Brown had a warrant for Failure To Appear on weekend work release, he provided that information to her to help her avoid capture. He failed to take action (having her arrested) after he knew she had an outstanding warrant.
No evidence of sexual activity between the two at jail facilities was uncovered by detectives.
Cothron was hired in 2008 and assigned to the South County Jail. He resigned his position as a Detention Deputy Tuesday night.
Cothron was arrested and transported to the jail Tuesday night for the following charges: Possession of a prescription medication without a prescription (M1), Misuse of confidential information (M1), Unlawful compensation for official behavior (F2).