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A Florida teenager allegedly killed by a founder of the Salt Life clothing company had voluntarily left her home “with somebody that she knew” days before she was found shot to death at a Hilton Oceanfront resort on Singer Island, authorities say.
Michael Hutto, 54, is currently in custody in connection with the death after being arrested on an out-of-county warrant for manslaughter and possession of a firearm.
Columbia County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steven Khachigan told Oxygen.com that Lora Grace Duncan’s parents contacted authorities on Monday, Oct. 26 to perform a welfare check on their 18-year-old daughter after becoming concerned about her whereabouts.
“Her parents contacted ... our sheriff’s office’s office and basically stated she had voluntarily left our county with somebody that she knew and asked us to do a well-being check on her and try to find her,” Khachigan said.
During the course of the investigation, Khachigan said detectives learned that Duncan was possibly at the resort and contacted the Riviera Beach Police “to try to make contact with her.”
Riviera Beach Police Maj. Joshua Lewis said police got that callThursday morning, according to The Palm Beach Post.
Lewis told Oxygen.com that investigators arrived to find Duncan dead from what appeared to be a single gunshot wound.
He declined to provide details about what authorities believe connected Hutto to the teen, but did say that Hutto was not at the scene when the body was discovered.
Hutto was arrested Friday night at the Baptist Medical Center South in Jacksonville.
“When contact was made with him, he was engaged in a medical emergency that I obviously can’t talk about but he was taken to the hospital, and once he was released from the hospital, that’s when he was arrested,” Lewis said.
Hutto was taken into custody without incident.
The Salt Life brand was created in 2003 by Dutto and three other friends who describe themselves as “avid watermen” from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, according to the company’s Facebook page.
The brand was created to represent the lifestyle of those who enjoy the ocean life, whether it's surfing, fishing, diving or just visiting the beach.
On Saturday, after news of Dutto’s arrest, the company said in a statement on social media that he is no longer associated with the business.
“Salt Life sends their utmost sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased,” the company said. “In 2013, the co-founders of Salt Life sold their entire business to the new owners. The co-founders have not been associated with the brand in any way since the purchase in 2013.”
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