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Teens charged as adults in death of West Nassau High School football player

"I can't believe I haven't hugged my child in five months," says Trent Fort's mother, as adult charges are filed against his accused killers.

CALLAHAN, Fla. — Two teens accused of killing a Nassau County High School football player are being charged as adults with his murder.

Sixteen-year-old Trenton Fort was shot to death in Callahan in late February, allegedly by fellow West Nassau High School students Gavin Smith, 17, and Ashton Riggs, 16. Smith is charged with third-degree murder and Riggs is charged with accessory to murder.

Paige Fort, Trent’s mother, said she was relieved to hear of progress in the case. “I can’t believe I haven’t hugged my child in five months," she told First Coast News. "I miss him so much.”

Paige Fort said each day since Trent was killed has been a struggle for her husband and two other children. 

“It’s definitely a struggle daily as a mom," Paige Fort said. "I have to visit my child in a cemetery. My oldest son is struggling bad. He misses his brother. He’s very depressed. It’s definitely destroyed us right now.”

The two teens were initially charged as juveniles. Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper announced upgraded charges Thursday in a recorded video release on Facebook. But nearly half the statement was a direct address to the county’s parents.

He urged them to monitor their children vigorously, especially their social media. “Did you ever lie to your parents?” he challenged. “What makes you think your kids are any different from you?”

He added, “Parents need to be the chief law enforcement officer in their child’s life -- their own personal cop.”

Paige Fort said she agreed with Leeper’s message and noted widely-circulated Instagram posts of the two accused teens posing with guns and cash. “Somebody should have stepped in a long time ago with these kids and maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

Leeper said the investigation is ongoing and left open the possibility others will be charged -- something Fort says she wants to see.

“Hopefully we will be seeing more charges very soon,” she said.

RELATED: 'Trent Fort’s life mattered' Attorney, family searching for answers in the death of Nassau County teen

RELATED: Callahan community rallies to support family of 16-year-old shot and killed




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