Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo man accused of killing his infant son

LARGO — The release of a medical examiner's report has led authorities to arrest a 23-year-old Largo man and accuse him of killing his infant son in May.

Tracy A. Pethtel of 401 Rosery Road NE, No. 819, was caring for his 11-week-old son at his apartment on May 29 when the baby began making "gasping noises" and started to become unresponsive, said Largo police spokesman Lt. Mike Loux.

Pethtel and his roommate, who was not identified by police, took the baby to Bardmoor Emergency Center on Bryan Dairy Road.

The baby was later transferred to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where he died May 30, Loux said.

This week, police received a medical examiner's report that found the infant died from blunt head trauma, authorities said. The manner of death was ruled a homicide.

A detective who went to the Bardmoor emergency room on May 29 said in an arrest affidavit that he saw "a linear purple mark" on the baby's right temple, as well as a scratch under his chin and "small, circular pin-shaped red marks on the left side of the neck."

Pethtel was arrested Tuesday evening and charged with second-degree murder. On Wednesday, he was being held without bail in the Pinellas County Jail.

Loux said the baby's mother, who is Pethtel's girlfriend, was at work during the time frame that investigators believe the infant was injured. Pethtel's roommate was in his room and is not believed to be involved, Loux said.

"During the five hours when it's thought this child was mortally wounded, the child was alone with the father," Loux said.

When interviewed, Pethtel denied harming the baby, Loux said.

Pinellas court records show Pethtel was arrested on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery in January 2006. The charge was amended to child abuse and Pethtel pleaded guilty. Adjudication was withheld, which means a formal conviction was withheld, and he received three and a half years of probation.

Rita Farlow can be reached at (727) 445-4157 or

Largo man accused of killing his infant son 08/24/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 7:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)