Couple who claimed 6-year-old killed himself indicted on murder charges

Posted at 12:47 PM, September 6, 2023


WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (Court TV) — A Florida couple has been indicted on charges they tortured and killed a 6-year-old boy before telling police that the child had taken his own life.

mugshots of Alize and Tre Seymore

Alize and Trey Seymore are charged with murder and child abuse in the death of 6-year-old Anthony Rouse. (Polk County Sheriff’s Office)

Alize and Tre Seymore were indicted by a grand jury on Aug. 31 on multiple charges, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and child abuse. Alize Seymore was additionally indicted on a charge of tampering with a witness, for alleged threats she made to one of her own children.

The indictments came months after the death of 6-year-old Anthony Rouse, who was found in a bathtub in the family’s home.

Note: This story contains graphic descriptions of child abuse.

On April 22, 2023, emergency crews responded to a report of a drowning and took Rouse to the hospital where he was found to have no brain function and was later pronounced dead. In an arrest affidavit, police said after they arrived at the scene, Alize told them she had sent her son to take a bath by himself after he wet himself, and then began watching TikTok videos.

After 20 minutes, she said her husband Tre went to check on the child, but found the door locked. After breaking into the bathroom using a fork, Tre said he found the child face down in the bathtub and began CPR.

The couple’s stories began to change immediately, however, and when further questioned by the police Alize said “she could not remember the incident clearly because when she thinks about it, she gets anxiety.”

When officers searched the residence, they found the side of the home occupied by the victim and Alize’s six other children had no electricity because the breaker had been cut off weeks prior.

“The bathroom does not have any source of natural light and was completely dark as a result of the doors being closed. The victim had been sent specifically to this bathroom as he was ‘not trusted’ to shower in the master bathroom which was properly equipped with power and working lighting.”

Officers discovered the children’s bedroom had the doorknobs reversed so they could only be locked and unlocked from the outside, and the room “did not have electricity and was filled with clothing items which were soiled with urine and feces.”

A search warrant gave police access to the Seymores’ phones, which revealed a pattern of troubling text messages between the couple, and consistently referred to putting Rouse in a cage. Police said they found a large dog cage in the garage which was used to contain the child, often for hours at a time and to conceal him when outsiders came to the home.

“Tre advised whenever he is at work, Alize has trouble taking care of the children so they do not respect her. Tre stated in the past Alize had called him begging Tre to come home ‘so she doesn’t go to jail.'”

3/31/23 Text from Tre to Alize: “(redacted) was stealing food…He’s now back in the cage. Don’t know how this is all going to end up but it’s not good.”

4/1/23 Text from Alize to Tre: “HES OUTSIDE LOOSE GARAGE TRYING TO SNEAK IN AND (expletive), NO, He stay in that (expletive) and rottttt” (This text was followed by a video of the victim in the dog cage).

4/4/23 Text from Alize to Tre: “I hate him”

4/21/23 Text from Alize to Tre: “I wanna put him up for adoption”

According to charging documents obtained by Court TV, when police interviewed one of the children on May 3, they revealed they had not previously told the truth because “Alize told him if he tells the truth, Tre would go to jail and if (Tre) goes to jail she will choke (the witness).”

The child told police Rouse would frequently get into trouble for stealing food, prompting Tre to take “the victim in to the bathroom to ‘go swimming.’ (The witness) advised ‘swimming’ means ‘drowning’ and ‘drowning’ means ‘holding the victim’s head underwater.'” The child also motioned to show detectives how Tre allegedly held Rouse’s head underwater.

The child also told officers that Tre performed a chokehold on all of the boys to get them to sleep and that he and the other children received rewards for beating Rouse and forcing him into the dog cage.

Both Tre and Alize have pleaded not guilty and were ordered to be held in jail without bond.