A Pasco County grand jury indicted Walter Steven Schell on a first-degree murder charge Friday for the death of his former fiancee's 3-year-old son. Schell, 32, is accused of hitting Joshua Trudeau in the abdomen in August, causing the boy's intestines to rupture, which eventually killed him. Schell was arrested Wednesday in the case and was being held in the Central Pasco Detention Center without bail.
Joshua's mother, Lauri Trudeau, helped Pasco sheriff's detectives implicate her former fiance last week. Trudeau, 27, telephoned him and talked to him while detectives taped the conversation. Neither Trudeau nor detectives would reveal details of the conversation. But detectives said Wednesday that Schell admitted to them this week that he struck Joshua in the abdomen.
Schell had gone to his mother's house in New York some time after the boy's death Aug. 31, and he was in New York when Trudeau called him last week. He was arrested Wednesday afternoon near a home on Sea Ranch Drive in Hudson.
For a month after Joshua's death, Trudeau had a hard time dealing with the loss of her son, she told a reporter earlier this week. She went through much denial, she said. "Oh God, it was so hard for me to speak with him," Trudeau said. "I wanted to claw his eyes out. Every time I felt this overwhelming urge to scream, I thought of Joshua and took a deep breath."
Joshua's natural father, Michel Trudeau, who is in Canada, is ecstatic about Schell's arrest, Mrs. Trudeau said. But he also is very angry with Schell, she said.
""The dust is settling and I miss my baby," she said. "I am looking forward to getting this finished and letting Joshua rest in peace."
Schell's was not the only indictment issued Friday morning.
Samuel Andrew Gant of Dade City was indicted on a first-degree murder charge for the death of a longtime friend.
Gant, 27, is accused of stabbing Jeffrey Colvin, 23, with a pocket knife during an argument in October. Gant was released from the Central Pasco Detention Center nearly two weeks later after paying $10,000 bail.