3 Teens Shot, 2 Fatally, in Rural Central Florida County

Police in central Florida are investigating after three teens were shot last week and found in different 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 critically wounded on the side of the road. On Friday morning, a 17-year-old boy was found dead from a gunshot wound a few miles away, still in the southeastern 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 inside from a gunshot wound.

According to the Ocala Star Banner, investigators have questioned a person of interest, but there were no arrests as of Monday afternoon.

Woods said police do not believe a serial killer is involved and said that rumor of a fourth victim are 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.

Some residents, however, were not assured. Sara Benghuis told WCJB that the victims “didn’t even get to start their lives, and these parents and these families are devastated.”

“I’m hoping the one girl does make it but I don’t know any details, they’re not releasing anything,” she said. “My kids were scared more than anything.”

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[Featured image: WCJB screenshot]