A pair of teenagers have been charged in the killing of a missing Florida teen whose body turned up in a wooded area several days after he vanished late last month.
Isaiah Jordan McCullers, 18, and Isaac Cameron Daniels, 19, are suspected in the murder of Cody Walker, 14, who vanished on March 14, officials announced this week. Both teenagers have been charged with first-degree felony murder during the commission of a robbery.
Walker was reported missing on March 19. Forensic and eyewitness evidence, however, suggest Walker died on March 15. His corpse was found nearly two weeks later in a forest clearing near Munson, Alabama. On April 1, Walker’s body was positively identified.
Investigators, who have been tight-lipped on details surrounding Walker’s murder, said they believe the teen was likely slain in the same location his body was found.
Authorities also suspect Walker’s killing may have been drug-related. Johnson said detectives have a “solid motive” for his killing but declined to specify further while the case is open, WEAR-TV reported.
"I can tell you this much...when you hang around people dealing drugs and carrying weapons, sometimes bad things happen," the sheriff said. "They don't take into consideration age, they don't take into consideration race or anything like that. Drug dealing is a business... When you start messing around with their business, they take it serious and people die."
McCullers was in custody at Santa Rosa County Jail on a parole violation at the time he was charged last week, according to online jail records obtained by Oxygen.com. He was taken into custody on the same day Walker’s body was discovered. McCullers initially refused to cooperate with investigators but later answered detectives' questions after his sister contacted law enforcement, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
McCullers’ interview was redacted from the report, according to the newspaper. He is also charged with resisting arrest and is being held with bond.
Daniels was still at large as of Thursday.
Both suspects are believed to originally be from the Birmingham, Alabama area, county authorities said.
Local authorities also responded to and pushed back on previous criticism this week surrounding the ongoing investigation.
"Let me tell you this, there is some stuff on social media that is kind of aggravating to us right now, because they are saying that we didn’t respond in a timely fashion and we really didn’t put all our resources to bear on this case, because Cody Walker had run-ins with us, prior,” Johnson said. "Well, I think that we've dispelled, that because, obviously, when you already have a positive ID on the victim and a guy in jail, that tells you that we took it pretty seriously — and we take every case seriously."
Johnson noted that law enforcement has carried out at least seven warrants and conducted upwards of 30 interviews since Walker disappeared in March.
State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden added prosecutors are actively working to ensure McCullers and Daniels "do not see the streets of this county or any other county again."
Walker’s family has since started a GoFundMe to cover the costs of a memorial service for the teenager and help his sister and mother move out of Santa Rosa County.
"They are absolutely terrified to live here any longer,” the GoFundMe page stated. “They lost everything here and they need a chance to start over."
Walker “endured so much pain” in his short life, according to relatives his father and a sister died at a young age, the fundraiser states.
If convicted, McCullers and Daniels could face life in prison or the death penalty for Walker’s murder.
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