Jacksonville, FL – Authorities arrested one of the founders of the popular clothing brand Salt Life on Oct. 30 after he admitted to shooting his much-younger girlfriend and leaving her to die in a hotel room in Palm Beach.
The investigation began on Oct. 29 after 18-year-old Lora “Grace” Duncan’s father called police and asked them to check on his daughter at the Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront Resort where she was staying with her boyfriend, the Daily Mail reported.
The police report said Duncan’s father said his daughter was in a relationship with 54-year-old Michael Troy Hutto and that she had sounded “out of character” when he last spoke to her.
The father told police he hadn’t heard from his daughter in a couple of days, the Daily Mail reported.
Police went to the resort to check on Duncan and found her dead on the floor of the hotel room with a single gunshot wound to her stomach.
Hutto’s wallet and identification were still in the room with the 18-year-old girl’s dead body, the Daily Mail reported.
Police launched a search for Hutto and quickly found him the next day, 280 miles north in a hospital in Jacksonville.
The arrest report said that Hutto had driven to Jacksonville after he shot Duncan and overdosed in his car at a gas station, resulting in the hospital admission, the Daily Mail reported.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers arrested Hutto at the hospital on Oct. 30 and transported him to a Duval County Pretrial Detention Facility, WTLV reported.
🔸FHP Arrests Murder Suspect from South Florida🔸
Great teamwork with Rivera Beach PD to bring this suspect to justice. Michael Troy Hutto was arrested at Baptist South for the recent murder of a teenager in South Florida. Hutto was delivered to Duval County Pre-Trial by FHP. pic.twitter.com/6UsXpipvFW
— FHPJacksonville (@FHPJacksonville) October 30, 2020
Hutto was charged with manslaughter in connection with the death of the 18 year old from Columbia County.
The arrest report said that when Hutto was questioned by troopers at the hospital, he told them “oh my God, I think I hurt my Gracie,” the Daily Mail reported.
Police said Hutto admitted to shooting Duncan.
The arrest report said that Hutto claimed he and his girlfriend were having a play gunfight inside their hotel room, using their fingers as weapons, when he picked up a real gun and shot her, the Daily Mail reported.
He claimed he was sitting on the bathroom counter when he pointed the real gun at her and it accidentally fired, according to the arrest report.
Hutto told investigators that after he shot Duncan, he put his gun in his bag and fled the room, the Daily Mail reported.
He said he left the hotel and drove north until he ran out of gas.
Witnesses who saw him when he overdosed at the gas station told police that he was “twitching, making delusional comments, and crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head,” the Daily Mail reported.
Troopers transported Hutto back to Palm Beach County after his arrest, WTLV reported.
He appeared in court on Monday and the judge noted he was considered a “flight risk” and set his bond at $225,000, the Daily Mail reported.
The clothing brand that Hutto founded was quick to release a statement on Oct. 31 disavowing any connection with him.
“Sadly we have learned one of Salt Life’s co-founders has been charged with a felony,” the company posted to its official Facebook page. “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.”