Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Father indicted in girl's 2007 death in Wesley Chapel home

WESLEY CHAPEL — Jeffrey Spohn and his wife had their adopted daughters home only a few months when tragedy struck in March 2007.

Spohn, authorities said, was alone with the girls in their Seven Oaks house when the 18-month-old, Ryanne, was rushed to the hospital with bleeding in her brain. She later died.

Authorities investigated the death, but it wasn't until last week — more than a year and a half after the girl's death — that a grand jury handed up a first-degree murder indictment.

Spohn's attorney, Patrick Calcutt of St. Petersburg, said Spohn was arrested last week in Marion County, where he and his wife moved to be near family. He was booked into the Pasco County jail without bail Monday.

"He's really just as baffled today as he was then as to exactly why she fell and why she died," Calcutt said.

"My understanding is … he was trying himself to get ready, get dressed and showered. His wife was not there," Calcutt added. "All he saw was one of them appeared to fall backward from the gate."

Spohn, 33, grew up in Ocala, Calcutt said, and served in the Navy. He and his wife, Heather, went through rigorous background checks to be able to adopt their children, who were sisters.

Only when the adoption was complete, Calcutt said, did the couple discover the children's severe medical problems, including fainting spells and neurological problems that weren't fully diagnosed.

"They were in pretty serious health-related circumstances when they were brought back to the United States," Calcutt said.

After Ryanne died, authorities moved to have the other girl, Macie, removed from her parents' home. A judge put her in the care of relatives. Calcutt would not say where Macie, 4, is now, only that she hasn't been returned to her parents.

He said Spohn, who has no prior criminal record, plans to plead not guilty to the charge.

"He doesn't want to hide," Calcutt said. "He wants to get to the bottom of what happened."

Molly Moorhead can be reached at or (727) 869-6245.

Father indicted in girl's 2007 death in Wesley Chapel home 11/10/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 5:40pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Good to be bad? Dirk Koetter's call for bold, brash Bucs


    Is being a badass team all about swagger and toughness? "Our whole thing is about competing," Bucs coach Dirk Koetter says. (Loren Elliott | Times)
  2. St. Pete sewage crisis ends with no charges, $326 million bill


    ST. PETERSBURG — The city has put the legal fallout from the sewage crisis behind it.

    Signs at North Shore Park in St. Petersburg warn people in September to stay out of the water due to contamination from partially treated sewage from the city's overwhelmed sewer system in September 2016. The city recently learned that no employees will face charges as a result of that crisis. The St. Petersburg City Council also agreed to spend $326 million fixing its sewer system. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. Epilogue: Tony Scaglione served Ybor delicacies and laughs


    Tony Scaglione's childhood dream was to own his family's restaurant.

    Tony Scaglione - the longtime owner of Tony's Ybor Restaurant - has died.  He was 87. Credit: Larry Scaglione
  4. What you need to know for Friday, July 21


    href=""> Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during minicamp this summer. He said the Bucs could be "a bad--- football team." [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Final sign positions should cut danger where trail crosses interstate ramp


    I am concerned with the yield signs I saw recently installed for the new bike and pedestrian trail along either side of Roosevelt Boulevard between Carillon Parkway/28th Street and Interstate 275. These yield signs seem to be pointing to the drivers, one side as they exit the interstate northbound, the other as they …