LAKE WALES, FL- A father has been arrested for the murder of his own 16-year-old son in Florida. The Polk County Sheriff, Grady Judd, expressed his deep sorrow over the horrific event, stating that there are no words to adequately describe the tragedy. The suspect, identified as Stephan Thomas Rodda, 37, was apprehended by authorities as he attempted to flee the county after the crime.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office swiftly responded to the scene, a mobile home located on Old Bartow Road near North Acuff Road in Lake Wales. The victim, Stephen Lee Rodda, was an 11th-grade student at Frostproof High School, with aspirations of becoming an electrician. He had been staying with his grandfather at the mobile home to assist him while his grandmother was in rehab.
According to the investigation, the suspect informed the victim’s grandfather, upon his return home, that he had killed someone and advised him not to enter the residence. The grandfather, familiar with the suspect’s tendency to make bizarre statements, alerted the authorities. When law enforcement entered the mobile home, they discovered the lifeless body of the 16-year-old victim.
The motive behind this murder remains unknown and is currently under investigation. Sheriff Judd revealed that the suspect has a history of methamphetamine use and has experienced psychotic episodes in the past. The preliminary findings indicate that the suspect used an angle grinder, a heavy-duty saw, to carry out the murder.
This horrifying incident marks the second case in the past eight days of a parent killing their child in Polk County. The first case involved a woman who killed her two children. The suspect in this recent homicide has an extensive criminal record, which authorities are thoroughly examining. Additionally, he is known for frequently relocating and had an outstanding minor arrest warrant from South Carolina.