Three best friends who planned to go night fishing at Lake Streety in Frostproof on Friday were found dead after one of them called his father for help.
“These folks appear to be beaten and shot,” the sheriff said. “I’ve been to a lot of murder scenes in my life, and this ranks among the worst I’ve been to,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during a news conference.
The three victims have been identified as Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27. Authorities believe there are multiple suspects.
It’s believed that Tillman was the first to arrive at the scene to go out on a catfish expedition, and when Rollins and Springfield arrived, they saw Tillman being beaten and were shot by the attackers, the New York Post reports.⠀⠀⠀⠀
“They were shot up,” he said. “But here’s what the murderers didn’t count on: that one of our victims, Brandon Rollins, was able to call his father, and say ‘help.'” Rollins father was sleeping at home ten minutes away and drove to the scene when he got the call. After realizing he left his cellphone, he went to a nearby convenience store to get help.
When Rollins’s father arrived, his son was still alive and able to briefly talk to him before he passed.
Officers are unsure whether the victims knew the suspects but have said their “intuitiveness tells us you don’t just stumble upon somebody out here.”
“This is a dirt road, a clay, dirt road way out in the middle of what we call God’s country,” he said. “It’s not like there’s a lot of people around here. As you can see it’s cow pastures and lakes.”⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
An award of $5,000 was immediately offered for anyone with information.
“The victims, their parents, and their families deserve for us to solve this sooner rather than later,” Judd said.