UPDATE: Third arrest in connection to deaths of three teens in East Marion County

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods speaks about the arrests of two juveniles on charges of first-degree murder in the deaths of three teenagers in the Ocala National Forest as Lt. Mike Mongeluzzo, Major Crimes Unit Commander, right, listens during a press conference at the Marion County Sheriff’s Office i n Ocala, Fla. on Friday, April 7, 2023. A third juvenile suspect is still at large. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2023.

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Posted April 7, 2023 | By Andy Fillmore

UPDATE: The Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) has announced a third arrest in connection to the deaths of three teenagers in East Marion County. The 16-year-old male was taken into custody on Saturday by officials with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and United States Marshals Service.

The 16-year-old was arrested on outstanding warrants and the MCSO post online stated that “at this time the homicide investigation is ongoing and additional charges are forthcoming.”

According to MCSO officials, a 16-year-old girl who was found shot and critically injured on March 30 on Southeast 183rd Avenue Road near Forest Lakes Park died on Tuesday, April 4. A 17-year-old boy was found deceased from gunshot injuries on March 31 in the vicinity of Southeast 94th Street and Southeast 188th Court. A 16-year-old girl was found deceased from gunshot injuries on April 1 in a partially submerged vehicle near a body of water in the vicinity of Malauka Loop and Malauka Loop Trace.

Sheriff Billy Woods had announced during a Friday morning press conference that boys ages 17 and 12 had been arrested and were charged with first-degree murder in connection to the case.

Officials said the 16-year-old was “at large” and asked for information as to his whereabouts and offered a reward.

Woods indicated that all six of the teenagers were known to each other and said they all “were associated with gangs.” He said a weapon used was “from car burglaries.”

Woods had earlier called the Forest Lakes Park area in Ocklawaha a “tight knit” community and asked residents with any information to call authorities. He said Friday that tips received had helped with the investigation.


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