OCKLAWAHA, Fla. (NewsNation) — Police in Ocklawaha say they have ruled out a serial killer in the case of three murdered teens and now believe those responsible were likely part of a neighborhood gang.
Layla Danielle Silvernail, the first victim, was found lying in a road next to a dumpster Thursday night in the town of Ocklawaha, WCJB-TV reported. She later died in a hospital.
The other two victims, a 17-year-old male and a 16-year-old female, were found dead Friday morning and Saturday afternoon, WESH-TV reported. Their names are being withheld pursuant to Florida law.
The 16-year-old’s body was found Saturday by an underwater recovery team inside Silvernail’s car, which was partially submerged in a nearby lake.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said he ruled out the serial killer theory because the killings appear to be a part of a single event and all of the victims were “known acquaintances.”
“It all hinges on my investigators finishing the puzzle,” said Woods. “And when that last piece is put in the puzzle, then that arrest will come. And I’m here to tell you an arrest will come.”
Speaking to local media Tuesday, Woods vowed to arrest the suspects involved.
“Not only our victims, but those families have a right to justice and that’s what we’re going to accomplish,” Woods said at a news conference. “We’re gonna get ’em.”
NewsNation writers Sean Noone and Tyler Wornell contributed to this report.