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Salt Life co-founder arrested after Lake City teen found dead in Florida hotel room

COLUMBIA COUNTY, Fla. – One of the founders of the Salt Life brand was arrested Friday after an 18-year-old Columbia County woman was found dead inside a South Florida hotel.

Lora Grace Duncan was found shot Thursday morning at Hotel Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront Palm Beaches Resort in Riviera Beach after her parents called the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office to request a well-being check.

Michael Troy Hutto, 54, of Jacksonville was arrested Friday and accused of manslaughter in connection with the Lake City teen’s death, Riviera Beach Police said.

Records and past media reports show that Hutto is the co-founder of Salt Life, a widely known clothing company founded in Jacksonville Beach.

Police said Hutto was found in Jacksonville suffering a medical emergency and was taken to a local hospital. Hutto, with the assistance of the Florida Highway Patrol, was then arrested without incident and taken to the Duval County jail.

Riviera Beach detectives then headed to Jacksonville and established probable cause for his arrest.

“Our deepest sympathies go out to the victim’s family of this tragic event. Although we hoped for a better outcome, we will assist in any way possible to help bring those responsible to justice," Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said.

Grace Duncan
Grace Duncan (Photo by Esta Eberhardt of Captured Memories by Esta)

The current owners of Salt Life sent a statement saying the co-founders sold their business in 2013 and are not affiliated with the current brand “in any way.”

“Salt Life sends their utmost sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased,” Salt Life posted on its Twitter feed.

The Riviera Beach Police Department is leading the homicide investigation. Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Riviera Beach Police Department at (561) 845-4123 or the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Detective Division at (386) 758-1095. Citizens may also report information through Crime Stoppers of Columbia County at (386) 754-7099, or by submitting a tip online at www.columbiacrimestoppers.net.

“With coordination with these various agencies, putting that vital information out and the agencies acting on it right away, and they were successful in taking him into custody right away, very quick. It’s very rare,” said News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson.


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