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News and Investigations

News & Investigations

News Releases and Public Information

Welcome to the Polk County Sheriff's Office News Room, where the Public Information Officers (PIO's) post all of the information that they release to the news media. PIO's act as liaisons between news media organizations and the Sheriff's Office. The PIO's routinely release timely and accurate information and Crime Stoppers bulletins, and respond to routine and "breaking news" media inquiries. News releases and Crime Stoppers information can be found on this page.

PCSO's full-time Public Information Officers are Brian Bruchey, Carrie Horstman, and Alicia Manautou. The Public Information Officers can be reached by sending an e-mail collectively at

The recent news releases sent out by the PIOs can be found here, and archived releases (older than 2017) can be found here.

Nov 10, 2020

Four teens arrested after intentionally running over Polk City woman

Media Contact: Carrie Horstman, Administrator

Four teenagers from the Winter Haven/Auburndale area were arrested and charged with attempted murder after purposely running over the mother of another teen with whom they had an ongoing dispute.

The victim, 52-year-old Suzette Penton, succumbed to her injuries on November 25, 2020, and the driver's charge was upgraded from attempted murder to first degree murder.

According to the affidavits, deputies responded to the teenaged victim's home in Polk City around 2:50 p.m. on Monday, November 9, 2020, and found his mother, Penton, critically injured after being run over by a van. The known suspects fled the scene but the suspect vehicle information was quickly BOLO'ed (broadcast over the radio as "be on the lookout") and located by responding deputies and Auburndale Police Officers. 

During the investigation, deputies learned that 18-year-old Elijah Stansell brought three friends - 16-year-old Raven Sutton, 15-year-old Kimberly Stone, and 14-year-old Hannah Eubank - to the victim's house to "handle" an ongoing dispute (romantic in nature). The suspects banged on the victim's front door, but the victim came out of the side door and into the carport to see who was there. The group of suspects ran to the carport, where Stansell physically attacked him. The victim retreated into his home, followed by Stansell and Sutton. At that time, the victim's mom (Penton) came home, and the suspects ran off. 

Suzette Penton followed them 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. 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.

There were several eyewitnesses to the crime, along with home surveillance videos. The video footage shows the suspect approaching the front door, the group of suspects going around to the side and attacking the victim, the attack inside the home, the suspects fleeing, and the suspects running over the victim's mother. 

Penton remained in very critical condition in the hospital until November 25, 2020, when she succumbed to her injuries.

Stansell was booked into the Polk County Jail on the following charges:

• Attempted felony murder (F2)
• Burglary with assault (F1)
• 3 counts Contributing to the delinquency of a minor (M1)

He was additionally charged with lewd and lascivious battery on a minor (F2) on a victim 15 years old, a crime that was discovered after his arrest on Monday.

On December 1, 2020, Stansell's attempted murder charge was upgraded to first degree murder.

Sutton, Eubank, and Stone were arrested and taken to the JAC on the following charges:

• Attempted felony murder (F2)
• Burglary with assault (F1)

On November 26, 2020, the three teens were charged as adults and moved to the juvenile dorm at the Polk County Jail.

The suspects were interviewed by detectives, and all four admitted to going to the victim's home to confront the victim. Stone showed the suspect where the victim lived, and she remained in the van while the other three suspects went to "handle" it. They all admitted to fleeing the scene on foot, being in the van when Stansell intentionally ran over the victim's mother, and then fleeing in the van after critically injuring her. 

"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. I can't even fathom teenagers doing something so heinous. Our prayers are with this family."  - Grady Judd, Sheriff