The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 48-year-old Bradenton woman for Child Neglect after she left her 2-week-old niece with a stranger at Bee Ridge Park in Sarasota.
The investigation began Tuesday just before 10:00 p.m., when deputies were called to 4430 S. Lockwood Ridge Road for reports on an abandoned infant. When deputies arrived, they made contact with a woman who explained the infant was left behind by two women including the infant’s great aunt. The woman further explained that she offered to watch the infant a few days earlier while the great aunt, later identified as Stephanie Fetner, DOB 10/11/69, played softball. On Tuesday, the woman again agreed to watch the infant and take her home for the evening in fear that the women were too intoxicated to care for the child. Fetner gave the newborn child to the woman and left the park without gathering any contact information.
Manatee County officials responded to Fetner’s home where she agreed to be interviewed. Due to her visible intoxication, Fetner was transported to the sheriff’s office by the Bradenton Police Department. Through investigation, detectives confirmed that Fetner is the infant’s primary caregiver and knowingly left the infant in the care of a stranger, while intoxicated. Fetner was arrested and charged with a single count of Child Neglect. She remains in custody today on $20,000 bond.
The investigation is ongoing.