Two adolescents were apprehended, while a third underage suspect remains at large in connection with the shooting fatalities of three teenagers in Florida, as authorities announced.
Christopher Atkins, aged 12, and Robert Robinson, aged 17, have been accused of first-degree murder in the killings that transpired within a 48-hour period between March 30 and April 1 in Ocklawaha, as reported in an April 7 Facebook post by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.
A third suspect, Tahj Brewton, aged 16, is still being pursued by the authorities.
Layla Silvernail, aged 16, Camille Quarles, aged 16, and an unidentified 17-year-old boy were tragically found shot to death in three separate locations, as authorities and loved ones have sorrowfully revealed.
Sheriff Billy Woods disclosed on Friday that he believes all three victims were entangled in burglaries and robberies, and both the victims and suspects were purportedly “associated with a gang.”
“In essence, there is no honor among thieves,” the sheriff articulated during a press conference. “At some point, these three individuals turned against our three victims and perpetrated the act of murder.”
Silvernail was the first victim discovered by investigators shortly before 11 p.m on March 30, as previously reported by PEOPLE. She was found lying by the side of the road, succumbing to a gunshot wound near Forest Lakes Park on SE 183rd Avenue Road.
The girl was hurriedly taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced deceased, according to authorities.
Deputies stated that the following morning, around 8 a.m., a 17-year-old boy who had suffered a fatal gunshot wound was located on the side of the road on SE 94th Street and SE 188th Court. His identity has not been unveiled.
Then, on April 1, approximately 12:30 p.m., investigators discovered Quarles’ lifeless body inside the trunk of Silvernail’s abandoned car, partially submerged near the edge of a small lake on Malauka Loop and Malauka Loop Trace, the sheriff conveyed. She had also fallen victim to a fatal gunshot.
“The vehicle was approximately nine miles away from the location where Layla Silvernail was found,” the post states. The suspects are believed to have fled the area where Silvernail was discovered, as noted by the sheriff.
Investigators further revealed their belief that the three victims were together in Silvernail’s 2015 Chevy Cruze before their untimely deaths. However, it remains unclear if all three were shot at the same time.
The sheriff previously debunked a social media rumor about a fourth victim and another one about a potential serial killer in the neighborhood.
Silvernail’s family shared on a GoFundMe page established to assist with funeral costs that they intend to donate her organs “in the wake of this tragedy.”
The teenager was fondly remembered as an “exceptional athlete” who had dedicated her life to playing softball, according to the fundraiser.
Quarles was also identified by family on a GoFundMe page, which described her as a “resplendent individual.”
“No one deserves this, no matter the circumstances,” reads the description of the fundraiser. “These kids had a full life ahead of them!”
Sheriff Billy Woods attributed the success of the investigation to the evidence left behind by the suspects, tips from the public, and the collaboration of local and federal law enforcement agencies.
“This investigation has been a triumph due to several factors,” the statement reads. “Our law enforcement partners, including the FBI, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, State Attorney Bill Gladson’s Office, FDLE, the Ocala Police Department, my deputies, detectives, and forensics professionals, and, finally, our citizens who provided numerous tips along the way.”