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Co-founder of “Salt Life” arrested after teen girl is found dead in hotel room

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RIVIERA BEACH — One of the co-founders of the Salt Life apparel brand was arrested Friday evening near Jacksonville in connection to the fatal shooting of an 18-year-old woman whose body was found at the Hilton Oceanfront resort on Singer Island. 

Michael Troy Hutto, 54, is being held in the Duval County Jail on an out-of-county warrant for charges of manslaughter and possession of a firearm, according to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office website.

Hutto was arrested at Baptist Medical Center South in Jacksonville after he was treated for an unknown medical emergency, Riviera Beach police said. 

Hutto, along with several friends in the Jacksonville area, started the Salt Life clothing line, whose main consumers are out on boats fishing, surfing and doing other water-related activities.

The company published a statement Saturday morning on its Facebook page that Hutto had no affiliation with Salt Life since selling the business in 2013.

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

“Salt Life sends their utmost sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased,” the company wrote in its statement.

Riviera Beach police Maj. Joshua Lewis said police got a call Thursday morning, asking them to do a welfare check on 18-year-old Lora Grace Duncan at the hotel, on North Ocean Drive just south of Ocean Reef Park.

When they arrived at about 11:30 a.m., the Lake City teen was found dead from what appeared to be a single gunshot wound.

Lewis did not say how police were able to connect Hutto to the teen. 

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said it was contacted Monday by the teen’s parents to check on her well-being. The office said it learned she “voluntarily left the county with a known individual.”

It’s unclear how Hutto and Duncan knew each other. 

Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said he and the department were sending their “deepest sympathies” to the family. 

“Although we hoped for a better outcome, we will assist in any way possible to help bring those responsible to justice,” Hunter said. 

This is the 13th confirmed homicide in Riviera Beach this year, according to a Palm Beach Post online database. 

Palm Beach County has had 67 confirmed homicides during 2020, according to the database. Fourteen of them have occurred in October.

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