Port Charlotte, FL

Missing Florida Teen Found in Home of Former Teacher

A.W. Naves

Kelly Simpson Mugshot(Photo: Charlotte County Sheriff's Office)

A 15-year-old boy, identified only by the initials D.J., was reported missing by his parents from his home on Manatee Lane in Port Charlotte, Florida, on August 12. He was found this week in the home of a teacher who initially denied any knowledge of his whereabouts.

According to the teenager’s parents, he left home after an August 11 dispute with them. Once they discovered that he stole $100 from them and skipped school the following day, they reported him missing. Police considered him an endangered youth because he left on foot without his phone, debit card, or necessary medication. He did not leave a note, use social media or contact anyone after his departure.

Police tracked D.J. to a home in Punta Gorda after a tip revealed that he was staying there. When they spoke to the house’s inhabitants, officers learned that the teenager was there for a few days but that a woman picked him up on August 15. They only knew her name was Kelly and that she drove a black car.

The runaway’s parents believed the woman who picked up their son was an English teacher at Charlotte High School. D.J. was a former student in her class and had a crush on her. They told police that their son often took her coffee and talked about her frequently.

Charlotte High School(Photo: Google)

This information led Detective Jonathan Murray to visit the home of 31-year-old Kelly Joyce Simpson. She told Murray that she knew the boy but that he was not in her home, claiming that she picked him up but then dropped him off at a gas station. She denied their request to look inside her home. Police advised that it was a crime for her to conceal the teen and that police would charge her if they later found out she was hiding the underage boy.

Ms. Simpson finally admitted that D.J. was there and told police she would bring him out. She went back inside the home while the police waited at the door. The teenager appeared about 10 minutes later and agreed to make a statement. He admitted to the police that Ms. Simpson kept him there despite knowing that he had been reported missing by his parents and that police were searching for him.

Home of Kelly Simpson(Photo: Google)

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) arrested Ms. Simpson on August 16 and charged her with interfering with the custody of a minor. She posted a $5,000 bond the following day and was released pending a September 27 court date.

Ms. Simpson's employer, Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS), told reporters they take the matter extremely seriously. A CCPS representative said they placed Ms. Simpson on administrative leave but declined to comment further due to the ongoing investigation.

Kelly Simpson Teacher's Photo(Photo: Charlotte High School)

Some students from her classes stated that she was very flirtatious with students. Others insist they don’t believe there was anything romantic between the teacher and the student she harbored.

It is unclear why Ms. Simpson chose to hide the boy in her home or if additional charges will follow as the investigation reveals more about the situation. Police with the CCSO are requesting that anyone with information about this case call the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office at 941-639-2101.

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Freelance Writer. Author. Alabamian. I write about true crimes, unsolved cases, and macabre mysteries.

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