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Stratford woman arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor child neglect

By Cara L. Dempski

GLENWOOD CITY — Rural Glenwood City was the site of a child neglect case after a central Wisconsin woman left her two-month-old child in the care of a stranger at a farm there.

Melody Copeland, age 22 of Stratford, is alleged to have driven to a farm at 1128 280th Street in the town of Springfield, just south of Glenwood City.

Captain Jeff Klatt of the St. Croix County Sheriff’s Department shared that Copeland had sent text messages to the man alleged to be the infant’s father, Fabien Tepole, asking him to look after the child.

“He sent texts back saying he was busy and wouldn’t be able to care for the baby,” Klatt said of Tepole.

Klatt also said Copeland told law enforcement that she had driven for approximately 10 minutes when she remembered the child’s care supplies were in her vehicle and returned to the farm.

“By that time, the police were there and she spoke with them,” Klatt stated.

Copeland was arrested on suspicion of child neglect, a Class A misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to nine months in jail, $10,000, or both. The child was taken to the hospital via ambulance and then taken into protective custody by St. Croix County Child Protective Services.

Copeland was released on September 3 after paying $250 bail.

Further information regarding this incident will be published in the September 14 issue of this newspaper.