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On August 31, 2023, a Winter Haven couple was indicted by a Polk County grand jury for:
· First Degree Murder
· Aggravated Child Abuse by Aggravated Battery
· Aggravated Manslaughter of a Child
· Tampering in Felony Life Capital Proceeding
· Child Abuse
· Cause Minor to become Delinquent/Dependent/Needy
The indictment is a result of an extensive investigation into the April 22nd drowning death of a 6-year-old boy who was in their care.
According to the affidavits, Tre (27) and Alize (25) Seymore, who are married and guardians of several children in their home, repeatedly abused a 6-year-old boy and coerced/rewarded two other children in the home to engage in the abuse, which ultimately led to the child being drowned in a bathtub.
"My detectives are simply the very best in the business. We knew early on during this investigation that there was no rational explanation for this young child's death, and that it was caused by his mother and stepfather. Through my detectives' dogged determination and the outstanding partnership we have with the State Attorney for the 10th Judicial Circuit, Brian Haas, we were able to bring this case to the grand jury for indictments. Our hearts break for this young boy's father. Please keep him and his family in your prayers." - Grady Judd, Sheriff
When deputies arrived at the crime scene on Sun Burst Road in Winter Haven on April 22, 2023, the Seymores told them that the victim was sent to take a bath as punishment for soiling himself. Tre did not check on the victim for at least 20 minutes, and when he went to open the bathroom door he said it was locked. After breaking into the bathroom, he told detectives, they found the victim face down in the water. They called 911.
The victim did not regain consciousness, and he was declared deceased in the hospital on April 24, 2023.
During a search warrant at the home, detectives noted that the bathroom did not have electricity, nor windows to allow in any light. The bedrooms where the children slept also did not have electricity. Tre admitted that he turned off the breaker to those rooms so that there would not be any electricity for the kids. The kids' bedroom doors also locked from the outside. Clothing soiled with urine and feces was in one of the bedrooms; the closet in that bedroom also had feces on the wall. Detectives found a dog cage in the garage, which they later discovered during their investigation was used to "punish" the victim by locking him inside it. A count of medications prescribed to the victim revealed that they were not being given to the victim.
Medical records from when the victim was admitted on April 22nd, and his subsequent autopsy, revealed evidence of scars from prior physical abuse. On April 22nd he had multiple open wounds as well.
Detectives interviewed the other children in the home, and two of the kids (ages 7 and 10) told them that they were rewarded with candy and food if they participated in "beating up" the victim and putting the victim in the dog cage. They disclosed that Tre would take the victim "swimming" in the bathroom as punishment, and that "swimming" meant "drowning" which meant "holding the victim's head underwater." One child told detectives he witnessed Tre holding the victim's head under the water and then pulling the victim out of the water and performing CPR. He said that Alize threatened to choke him if he told the truth about Tre doing this to the victim.
During a forensic examination of the suspects' cell phones, detectives found text messages between Tre and Alize Seymore describing abusing the victim, and photos and videos of the abuse and the victim being locked in the dog cage. The following are actual text conversations between the two:
On 04-07-2023 (1724 hours) - Alize says "VICTIM man", Tre replies "What now?", Alize says "I hate him"
On 04-12-2023 (0147 hours) - Tre says "Why keep putting him in the garage if you're going to constantly have her over, Wtf is wrong with you alize, Can you please f**king think for once in your life." Alize says "It was only tonight, I'll take him out. U put him in baby", Alize says "She don't even know he here he ain't speak all day. I've been talking to him".
On 04-15-2023 (0058 hours) - Alize says "Couldn't get him out and honestly don't want him out." Tre says "Why can't you just do it the right way until you can sign him over to a agency, What is the point of compromising EVERYTHING just for a sick twisted way of revenge?, It serves no purpose and it doesn't work." Alize says "Man boy it was ok wen u was doing it tho, Gtfoh."
On 04-21-2023 (0129 hours) - Alize says "Street runner (Song by rob wave) is sooooo important to me. It makes me cry about u it's so relatable to me. Frfr especially the girls whole part in the song everything she sings. If I ever killed VICTIM it would be to that song." Tre replies "Bruh", Alize says "Cause I honestly was gonna I'm just being honest"
On 04-21-2023 (1714 hours) - Alize says "I wanna put him for adoption".
Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives obtained felony warrants for both suspects in May 2023 for: aggravated child abuse, child abuse [for encouraging the other children to abuse the victim], tampering with a witness, and causing a child to be dependent [due to the fact that DCF had to take the remaining children into custody]. The suspects were taken into custody in Alachua County and booked into the Alachua County Jail on May 18, 2023. They were later transferred to the Polk County Jail, where they remained until their recent indictments.