Osceola woman accused of 2022 death of her child faces death penalty, prosecutors say

Joanne Zephir was arrested in May 2022

Joanne Zephir. (Osceola County Sheriff's Office)

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – Prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty against an Osceola County woman accused of killing her 3-year-old child and trying to kill her husband and 8-year-old child.

Joanne Zephir, 38, was arrested in May 2022.

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Investigators say Zephir was already facing an arrest warrant for attempted murder after her husband was stabbed. According to an arrest affidavit, Zephir told a family member that she was going to turn herself in to deputies but wanted to spend some time with her children beforehand.

Deputies say they instead found Zephir outside a church in Poinciana. They say she made the two children drink bleach and strangled the three-year-old to death. They say she also tried to kill herself.

The husband and 8-year-old survived.

Zephir was found competent to stand trial in December after a psychological evaluation, according to court records.

An Osceola County grand jury indicted Zephir for first-degree murder with a weapon in February. She was also indicted on attempted first-degree murder with a weapon and attempted murder with a weapon.

The trial is currently set for July, according to Osceola County’s Clerk of Courts website.

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About the Author

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.

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