The officer facing charges for not reporting a child was in potential danger told the girl’s mother he didn’t feel like dealing with DCF. That little girl died in a violent crash one month after Williams had pulled her mother over.
The arrest warrant makes it clear, using Officer Tyler Williams’ own words, what he did and what he failed to do.
During a traffic stop involving a mother found with heroin and meth and her sleeping little girl in the back seat, Williams said he was giving them a “freebie.” Why? Because “I really don’t feel like dealing with DCF at six in the morning.”
The warrant lays out the details of what happened in the early morning of Jan. 18.
During that traffic stop, Officer Williams found heroin and meth in Leslie Zeagler’s car and a sleeping Serenity in the back seat.
“It’s disappointing, you know, we expect the officers of the law to do, you know, the right thing or at least protect kids,” said Serenity’s father, Randy Robinson.
The warrant transcribes audio from body camera footage where Williams is talking to Zeagler and her friend.
Williams said, “I didn’t say I was taking you to jail because we are going to have a whole ‘come to Jesus’ step.”
Williams later said he is not going to call the Department of Children and Families because “ultimately, what will happen is the state takes the child.”
Williams said there were felony narcotics in the same vehicle as a “sleeping three-year-old.”
That is a beautiful little girl. She does not deserve that.
“It upsets me man because my baby could be here had he done what he was supposed to do,” Robinson said. He said after Serenity died in a crash one month later, he made it his mission to fight for her.
He was in jail at the time for driving without a license, so his girlfriend got in touch with Officer Williams.
The couple talked to Williams on a recorded line where they claim the officer told them that he did, in fact, report the incident to DCF. The next day, Fort Myers police put Williams on paid leave pending the internal affairs investigation.
“Especially now that my baby’s gone, I’m not going to stop fighting for her,” Robinson said.
DCF had three reports involving Zeagler and Serenity: at birth when Zeagler tested positive for drugs and Serenity showed signs of withdrawal; the second one in October of last year when relatives who sold drugs from their home got into a fight; and the last time when Zeagler crashed her car, killing the baby girl.