ORLANDO, Fla (Reuters) – Lured to a home by a girl's text message, a 15-year-old central Florida boy was beaten, shot and burned to death by a group of teenagers and young adults, police said on Wednesday.
Five people ranging from ages 15 to 20 have been arrested on first-degree murder charges in connection with the death of Seath Tyler Jackson, whose parents reported him missing on Monday.
The only motive identified by investigators so far is that the alleged shooter, 20-year-old Michael Bargo, had spoken of his hatred for the victim, a Marion County Sheriff's Office report said.
Statements given by the defendants helped authorities piece together what they say happened.
Two girls, 18-year-old Charlie Kay Ely and 15-year-old Amber Wright, helped lure Jackson to a home in Summerfield, northwest of Orlando, on Sunday, according to the arrest affidavit.
Three young men then beat and shot Jackson, put him in a bathtub and tried to break his kneecaps so he could be folded and stuffed in a sleeping bag, the report states.
When they noticed Jackson was still alive, Bargo shot him again and they threw his body in the sleeping bag into a fire pit that had been lit before Jackson arrived, police said.
On Tuesday, 16-year-old Kyle Hooper told his mother he had witnessed Jackson's murder, the report states. Hooper told investigators the house was cleaned with bleach and Jackson's remains were shoveled from the fire pit, placed in paint cans and tossed in a dumpster.
Hooper, Ely, Wright and 20-year-old Justin Soto admitted their roles in the murder, according to the affidavit.
Authorities caught Bargo on Wednesday in the town of Starke, about an hour and 30 minutes north of the crime scene.
According to a news release, Bargo hitched a ride with James Haven, 37, who was arrested on a charge of accessory after-the-fact to first-degree murder.
Investigators said Haven knew of the deadly plot and helped hide the victim's remains in 5-gallon paint cans.