Police say three Florida friends were planning to go fishing late Friday evening, but things took a bad turn when they were found dead after one of them attempted to call his father for help, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a news conference.
“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.”
The sheriff’s office identified the three victims as Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27.
Officer Judd said officers believe there were likely multiple suspects. One of the victims, likely Tillman, arrived at the scene first and was killed when the two other victims arrived in a pickup truck, the sheriff said.
One of the victims, Rollins, was able to call his dad for help and say “help.”
Rollins’ father was sleeping at home about 10 minutes away and drove to the scene as soon as he got the call, Judd said. But after leaving his cell phone at home, he drove back to a local convenient store to ask for help.
Rollins’ father arrived and found his son, who was still alive and able to briefly talk to him before succumbing to his injuries, Judd said.
Immediately authorities said they were offering a reward of $5,000 for anyone who has a tip that leads to an arrest. The sheriff’s office later announced the amount was raised to $30,000.
Anyone with tips can call the sheriff’s office at 863-298-6200, according to a news release.