JACKSONVILLE, Fla — The 18-year-old Columbia County woman who was found shot to death in a hotel room in Palm Beach County was reportedly dating the already married 54-year-old Salt Life co-founder who was charged in connection to her death, according to the affidavit report detailing his arrest.
Michael Hutto, 54, made his first court appearance virtually on Monday. During the one-minute meeting, attorneys said there was probable cause for both his manslaughter and weapons offense charges. He was placed on a $255,000 bond.
According to the affidavit, on Thursday, Oct. 29 around 10:50 a.m., the Riviera Beach Police Department was called out to the Hilton Hotel, 3700 N. Ocean Blvd. in Riviera Beach, to conduct a welfare check on Lora Grace Duncan.
Lora Duncan's father, Burton Duncan, told police he hadn't heard from her since Sunday morning. He said he tracked her phone and believed she was at the hotel with her boyfriend, Hutto. He also told police that he believed Hutto "gave drugs to his daughter to keep her sedated," according to the report.
When police arrived, staff helped open the door and immediately, "there was a strong odor of decomposition from the hallway," the police report states. It goes on to state a woman's body was found on the bathroom floor, covered in blood and with a gunshot wound to her stomach.
The room was put in Hutto's name and police found his wallet and ID inside, the report states.
Surveillance video showed Hutto leave the hotel with a backpack before he drove off in his vehicle, police said. Immediately, a BOLO was issued for Hutto.
Shortly after, the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office contacted a detective with the Riviera Beach Police Department and said the previous day, Oct. 28, Hutto overdosed at a BP Gas Station, 120 Center Place Way in St. Augustine.
SJSO said the attendant called the sheriff's office after a man walked into the store, asking for help. He was "reportedly twitching, making delusional comments, crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head," the police report states.
The man, later identified as Hutto, was transported to the hospital where he was receiving treatment, SJSO said.
Riviera Beach Police detectives went to the hospital where Hutto was being treated and asked if he knew why they were there. He told them "yes" and uttered "not verbatim, 'Oh my god, I think, I think I hurt my Gracie' as he began to cry," the police report states. Hutto stopped talking, but said he would continue the next day, according to the report.
The next day, Hutto reportedly told the detective they were headed to the Florida Keys to see some friends and that they were staying at the Hilton. When asked about what happened at the hotel, Hutto said "him and his Gracie spent time on the beach ... him and his Gracie was playing inside of the hotel room as if they were shooting with their finger and a gun ... Gracie was sitting on the counter inside of the bathroom, he pointed the gun at Gracie, at which time; it went off and shot her," the police report states.
Hutto said he left the room with the gun and his medications in his backpack, which was found in the front passenger seat of his vehicle, according to the report.
Hutto was arrested and charged with homicide-manslaughter and possession or use of a weapon, the report states.
His next court date is Dec. 8.
Sadly we have learned one of Salt Life’s co-founders has been charged with a felony. Salt Life sends their utmost sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased. In 2013, the co-founders of Salt Life sold their entire business to the new owners. The co-founders have not been associated with the brand in any way since the purchase in 2013.