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I-TEAM digs into background of family of teen charged with murder

I-TEAM uncovers DCF, JSO investigations involving Mott family

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The I-TEAM has uncovered two investigations involving the family of a 15-year-old boy to whom Jacksonville police on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant for murder in the death of his 53-year-old grandmother. 

Documents from courts, hospitals and investigations by the Florida Department of Children and Families reveal a history of problems between Logan Mott and his parents. 

Logan Mott was reported missing Wednesday and was found in Buffalo, New York, on Friday night when authorities said he made a wrong turn on Peace Bridge, which leads to the Canadian border.

Earlier that day, police recovered the body of Logan Mott's grandmother, Kristina French, from a shallow grave in Neptune Beach.

Before Logan Mott was known to criminal investigators in Jacksonville, Duval County court records show he and his parents were well known to the family court circuit here.

The I-TEAM counted more than 200 back-and-forth legal filings in the bitter custody battle between his mother, Carrie Campbell-Mott, and his father, Eric Mott. The couple filed for divorce in 2004.

After spending days combing through records, the I-TEAM on Tuesday uncovered a motion, in which Logan Mott's mother claimed her son was being physically abused by his father, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office corrections lieutenant.

In the legal volley, the I-TEAM found Logan Mott and his father were interviewed by DCF two years ago over allegations made by Logan Mott's mother. Her motion, dated April 22, 2015, reads, "the former husband and minor child have been interviewed by the Department of Children and Families after claims raised by the child to school personnel."

It's unknown which school staffer contacted DCF. Logan Mott's mother previously told the I-TEAM he attended five schools: St. Marks, San Pablo Elementary, Neptune Beach Elementary, Fletcher Middle and Sandalwood High School.

When the I-TEAM pressed DCF on whether there had been complaint calls on Logan Mott's behalf, a spokesperson responded, "per the state confidentiality laws ... we are not legally able to say."

Eric Mott's legal response to the allegation included, "the former wife has made false claims to the Department of Children Family Services claiming the child to be abused while in the former Husband's care. The former wife's complaints are false, fraudulent and unfounded."

In the 201 court filings between the couple, the I-TEAM could not find a court ruling on the mother’s allegations. But Logan remained in the custody of his father, and it was at his father's Neptune Beach home that police said the body of French, Eric Mott's mother and Logan Mott's grandmother, was found. 

Logan Mott’s New York attorney, Dominic Saraceno, has urged patience.

"He has zero criminal history, well-liked by his peers, good grades. Nothing to suggest he would be capable of any kind of violence," Saraceno said. "It doesn't add up and that's why I'd ask the public not to rush to judgment."

Carrie Campbell-Mott declined to comment Tuesday to about the allegation. The I-TEAM was unable to reach Eric Mott.

The records show the divorced couple went before judges for everything from school decisions to Logan Mott’s medical needs.

In summer 2014, a court document shows Logan Mott was physically removed from his mother by police and taken from her Missouri home back to Jacksonville after his father notified the court Logan Mott had been hospitalized with a diabetic episode. 

Eric Mott wrote the court, "the former wife has demonstrated an inability to monitor the minor child thus exposing the minor child to imminent risk of serious injury or death..." Logan's mother adamantly denied that claim. A judge overturned the temporary order within weeks.

Now, the two parents are once again faced with trying to determine what is in the best interest of their child, who's currently in a juvenile detention facility in Buffalo, New York.

It's something Logan's attorney admits is complex.

"It's a bit of a complicated situation because it was dad's mother who was found in the backyard, which creates a bit of a conflict of interest on behalf of dad because, on the one hand, he would like to see justice for his mother," Saraceno said. "On the other hand, as a father, and I haven't spoken to him. I would imagine he'd feel a natural desire to want to protect his child. It creates a bit of a conflict there, in my opinion. I've been mostly dealing with mother. I don't think father is in a position right now to address these issues."

Eric Mott has declined to speak to any media since his son and his mother disappeared.

JSO internal affairs investigation into teen's father

In addition to the DCF investigation into Logan Mott and his father, the I-TEAM also uncovered new details about an internal affairs investigation into Lt. Eric Mott by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.

The I-TEAM has asked JSO for Eric Mott's employment history with the agency, but has not yet received those records.

But the I-TEAM did obtain a letter from a source, which shows Eric Mott has been subjected to at least one internal affairs investigation.

The one-page letter is on JSO official letterhead and is addressed to Carrie Mott, Logan Mott's mother and Eric Mott's ex-wife. 

WATCH: I-TEAM uncovers JSO internal affairs investigation into teen's father

The letter reads, in part, "The Internal Affairs Unit of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office has completed an investigation into your complaint against a member of our Department" and found there was "insufficient evidence" to "prove or disprove your complaint."

The I-TEAM source said the complaint was filed against Eric Mott.

The letter is dated May 2015, around the time when Duval County family court filings showed Logan Mott's mother was trying to regain custody. The divorced couple spent 12 years locked in a bitter legal battle over the custody and well-being of Logan Mott.

Logan Mott's mother also declined to give any official comment on the upgraded murder charge or the internal affairs letter.

A source told the I-TEAM that Eric Mott has received complaints while on the force, which would not be uncommon. But without the public records, it's unknown whether JSO found the complaints were valid or not.

About the Author:

Lynnsey Gardner is an Edward R. Murrow award-winning investigative reporter and fill-in anchor for The Local Station.