Local News

Avon Park parents plead not guilty in death of baby boy

SEBRING - The parents of an infant, who authorities say died from malnutrition and neglect, pleaded not guilty Monday in Highlands County Court to charges stemming from his death. Milo Rupert's mother, Sandra Michelle Jackson, 25, 1024 Hal McRae Loop, Avon Park, remained in the Highlands County jail with bond set at $310,000 for all charges. A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for April 18. Jackson appeared in jail garb at the hearing. The father, Kyle Lee Marsh Rupert, 22, of Sanford, also remained in jail on $310,000 for all charges.
His pretrial hearing was set for March 21. He did not attend the hearing. Both Jackson and Rupert have been charged with two counts of child neglect without great harm, one count of child neglect with great harm and aggravated manslaughter. Authorities arrested the pair on neglect charges some six months after Avon Park police arrived at the home and found 10-month-old Milo dead and the other children appearing malnourished and suffering from insect bites. They found trash throughout the house, food on the floors and an infestation of cockroaches. Stephen Houchin, chief assistant state attorney for Highlands County, said it's possible the cases will be joined together. That would depend at least in part on whether defenses of Jackson and Rupert conflict, he said.

jmeisel@highlandstoday.com (863) 386-5834