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‘Oh my God, I think I hurt my Gracie’: Michael Hutto faces a manslaughter charge in the Oct. 29 death of 18-year-old Lora Grace Duncan.

Hannah Winston
 
| Palm Beach Post

SINGER ISLAND — When 18-year-old Lora Grace Duncan’s body was found shot in a room at the Hilton Oceanfront resort in late October, Michael Troy Hutto’s phone and ID were found left behind as well. But, investigators said, the 56-year-old man was nowhere to be seen. 

Instead, Hutto was found overdosing on undisclosed narcotics at a gas station near St. Augustine and later was questioned by investigators about his connection to the teen’s death

“Oh my God, I think I hurt my Gracie,” he told investigators as he started to cry at a hospital near Jacksonville.

Hutto, of Wellsborn in North Florida, is charged with one count of manslaughter and displaying a weapon, according to court records. On Monday morning, County Judge Ted Booras ordered that Hutto be held on $255,000 bail.

As of Monday afternoon, he remained in the Palm Beach County Jail. 

In late October, Duncan’s father contacted authorities, according to Hutto’s arrest report. He said he last spoke with his daughter Oct. 25 and was concerned because his daughter sounded out of character and possibly under the influence of drugs. He told investigators he believed Hutto was giving his daughter drugs “to keep her sedated.”

According to the report, Duncan’s father told investigators his daughter was dating Hutto.

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He said he was able to track his daughter’s location by her phone, which showed she was at the Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront hotel

On Oct. 29, Riviera Beach police conducted a welfare check at the hotel room under Hutto’s name and found the teen covered in blood with a gunshot wound to her stomach.  

After the discovery in the hotel room, investigators put out an alert to “be on the lookout” for Hutto’s vehicle. The St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office reached out and said it came into contact with Hutto at a gas station in St. Augustine, where they said he was suffering from an overdose. 

When authorities arrived, witnesses said Hutto was “twitching, making delusional comments and crying while his eyes were rolling into the back of his head.”

He was taken to  Baptist Medical Center South in Jacksonville, where detectives interviewed him.

Hutto told police he and “his Gracie” were headed to the Florida Keys to meet up with friends. He said they spent time at the beach and then made it back to their hotel where they were “playing” as if “they were shooting with their finger and a gun.” At that time, as Duncan sat in the bathroom, he said he pointed the gun at her and it went off. 

When that happened, he put the gun in his backpack, fled the scene and drove north until his car ran out of gas, according to the report. He did not say he attempted to help the 18-year-old. 

Investigators said video recordings from the hotel show Hutto leaving with the backpack.

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Hutto, along with several friends in the Jacksonville area, started the Salt Life clothing line in 2003, whose main consumers are out on boats fishing, surfing and doing other water-related activities.

The company said Hutto has no affiliation with Salt Life since selling the business in 2013. The brand was founded in 2003.

“Salt Life sends their utmost sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased,” the company wrote in a Facebook post Oct. 31.

hwinston@pbpost.com

@hannahwinston


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