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City commissioner arrested, accused of removing 11-year-old from home, threatening child with gun

"We don't expect this kind of behavior from anyone, but especially someone in public office," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — A Lake Wales city commissioner has been arrested after deputies say she removed an 11-year-old child from his home without permission and threatened him with a gun.

According to an affidavit, 41-year-old Kristen Fitzgerald picked up the 11-year-old boy from his home and took him to the Honey House. Fitzgerald accused the boy of touching a now-13-year-old child in a sexual manner a year ago, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The boy denied Fitzgerald's accusations, at which point she threatened him with a gun, according to the affidavit.

When detectives spoke with Fitzgerald, the affidavit says she denied threatening the boy and simply told the boy to stay away from the 13-year-old child. Fitzgerald said she keeps a gun inside a case in her car, and it slid out from under the seat while the boy was in the car with her, the affidavit says. She reportedly told detectives she pushed it back under the seat with her foot. 

According to the affidavit, deputies found the gun inside a brown bag on the driver's floorboard of Fitzgerald's car. Deputies say the gun was loaded but a round wasn't in the chamber when it was found. 

During an interview with the Children's Advocacy Center, the affidavit says the boy said Fitzgerald called him on the phone and wanted to speak to him and not his mother. 

Sheriff Judd says Fitzgerald told the boy to come outside and get into her car. The boy said he thought Fitzgerald was going to give him money or a gift for finishing his school year. 

The boy then reportedly said Fitzgerald confronted him about sexual allegations that happened in 2020 that the 13-year-old had made. Fitzgerald then threatened to kill him if he ever communicated or touched the 13-year-old again, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, the boy said Fitzgerald took the gun out of the bag and showed him the gun, threatening to "bury him alive." Fitzgerald then kept the gun in her lap while driving the boy from the Honey House back to his home, the boy reportedly told investigators. 

He also said he thought Fitzgerald was intoxicated and could smell alcohol on her breath, according to the affidavit. The boy also said he was afraid of Fitzgerald and "never wanted to see her again," the affidavit said.

The boy's mother confirmed to investigators that she didn't know Fitzgerald was taking her son anywhere and didn't give her permission, the affidavit said. In the past, Fitzgerald had taken her son places, but had always gotten permission and told the boy's mother where they were going, according to the affidavit. 

In a later interview with the sheriff's office, Fitzgerald reportedly admitted to showing the boy the gun, but said she didn't point it at him. The affidavit said Fitzgerald clarified what she said to the boy, saying, "I did say I would bury him, but I didn't say alive."

The Polk County Sheriff's Office on Thursday arrested Fitzgerald. She is facing two felony charges, one count of interference with child custody and one count of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Fitzgerald is in the Polk County Jail on no bond.

"We don't expect this kind of behavior from anyone, but especially someone in public office. She should be held to a higher standard and should be setting the proper example - instead, she displayed what not to do as a human being. Her conduct, threatening a child with a gun, is horrendous," Sheriff Grady Judd said.

You can watch the full news conference here:

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