Central Florida police are investigating after three teenagers were shot dead last week and found at various locations in sprawling, rural Marion County.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said the first call came in Thursday night and deputies found 16-year-old Layla Silvernail by the side of the road, critically injured. On Friday morning, a 17-year-old boy was found dead a few miles away, still in the south-eastern part of the county.
On Saturday afternoon, Woods said, deputies received information that Silvernail’s car was partially submerged in a pond about 10 miles from the other two victims. After obtaining a search warrant for the vehicle, they found a third victim, a 16-year-old girl, dead from a gunshot wound.
According to the Ocala Star Banner, investigators interviewed a person of interest, but no arrests had been made as of Monday afternoon.
Woods said police don’t believe a serial killer was involved and said rumors of a fourth victim were untrue. He assured the community they were safe and urged anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers of Marion County at (352) 368-STOP (7867) and reference 23-22 in your tip.
However, some local residents were not insured. Sara Benghuis told WCJB that the victims “couldn’t even start their lives and these parents and these families are devastated.”
“I hope that one girl makes it, but I don’t know the details, they don’t release anything,” she said. “My kids were scared more than anything.”
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[Featured image: WCJB screenshot]
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