A co-founder of a popular Florida clothing brand has been charged with manslaughter and gun possession in the death of an 18-year-old woman found shot at a South Florida hotel, police said.
Michael Troy Hutto, 54, who co-founded Salt Life apparel in Jacksonville Beach with three friends in 2003, was arrested Friday at a hospital in Jacksonville while wearing hospital scrubs and skid-proof socks, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
Hutto was taken into custody at the hospital after being treated for an unknown emergency, Riviera Beach police told the Palm Beach Post.
Officers responded to the facility following a welfare check on Lora Grace Duncan at the Hilton Oceanfront resort on Singer Island near Palm Beach, where the 18-year-old was found dead Thursday from a gunshot wound, police said.
It’s unclear what relationship, if any, Hutto had with Duncan at the time of her death, police told the Florida Times-Union.
Investigators had been looking for the woman since Oct. 26 when her parents asked the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office to conduct for a welfare check. She had previously left the county voluntarily, the newspaper reported.
Hutto’s most recent address is in Wellborn, according to the Times-Union. In 2003, he coined the phrase “Salt Life” that would go on to become the namesake of the beach and aquatic lifestyle brand he co-founded and served as president, the newspaper reported.
Hutto and his friends billed themselves as “hardcore fishermen” who were “living the salt life” on open waters, ultimately building the local outfit to a popular brand in ensuing years, the Times-Union reported.
Hutto had not been involved in the clothing line since 2013, company officials said in a statement.
“Sadly we have learned one of Salt Life’s co-founders has been charged with a felony,” the statement read. “Salt Life sends their utmost sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased.”
Hutto and his partners sold the business for nearly $40 million, according to the Associated Press.
Hutto’s family could not be reached Saturday for comment, the Palm Beach Post reported. He remained held without bail Monday at the Duval County Jail, online records show. It’s unclear if he’s hired an attorney.
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