Elijah Stansell is the teenage Florida missionary who is accused of intentionally running over a woman in Polk City on November 9.
According to a statement from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded to a home in Polk City at 2:50 p.m. on November 9. There, deputies discovered a teenager who had been beaten up and his mother, who had been run over by a van. The suspects fled the scene.
The Woman Is Described as Being in ‘Very Critical Condition’
Investigators believe that Stansell and three friends, also teenagers aged 16, 15 and 14, went to the home in order to “handle” an ongoing dispute that is described as “romantic in nature.” The four suspects banged on the victim’s door and physically attacked him. Investigators say that the attack continued in the victim’s home.
At some point, the victim’s mother returned home. Investigators say that the mother followed the suspects to their van and began taking photos of the vehicle. The statement reads, “Though there was enough room for the van to maneuver around her as she stood in the roadway, Stansell intentionally ran into her, then over her, before fleeing the scene.” The mother is described as being in “very critical condition” in the hospital. Investigators say that there are several eyewitnesses to the assault and surveillance footage.
Stansell is facing charges of attempted felony murder, burglary with assault, three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, lewd and lascivious battery on a minor 15 years old. He is being held a Polk County Jail. Sheriff Grady Judd said of the crime, “This was a coordinated, planned attack, carried out by a group of teens who beat up a teen then ran over his mother, leaving her for dead. I can’t even fathom teenagers doing something so heinous. Our prayers are with this family.”
Stansell’s Father Wrote on Facebook: ‘Please Pray for My Family’
Shortly after Stansell’s arrest, his father, Paul Stansell, wrote in a Facebook post, “Please pray for my family.” On October 8, Paul Stansell also wrote, “Please pray for my family.” When asked in the comments section about what happened, Paul Stansell replied by saying, “The devil is attacking my family.” According to the website for the Westwood Missionary Baptist Church in Winterhaven, Florida, Paul Stansell is the director of ABA Disaster Relief for the church.
On September 9, a member of the congregation of Westwood Missionary Baptist Church paid tribute to Stansell in a Facebook post. The woman wrote that Stansell had been working in disaster relief with the church since 2017. Stansell is described as being “a joy, he is so polite, he is a hard worker and he has a great sense of humor.” The woman said that Stansell should be a “Christian comedian” because “as anytime I am around him, he has us all rolling in stitches laughing.” The woman said that Stansell said his future plans are “wherever the Lord leads.” Stansell’s mother also works in with the church’s disaster relief program.