Sumter County deputies arrest man accused of killing 16-year-old girl

Aleaya Maria Jackson, 16, was found dead on Nov. 5

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – A man accused in the homicide of a Leesburg teenager found dead in a Sumter County home in November was arrested Friday, Sumter County Sheriff's Office deputies said.

Deputies said Larry Darnell Peavy, 35, of Bushnell, was arrested in a Leesburg parking lot, but did not provide further details about his arrest.

In November, deputies said the body of Aleaya Maria Jackson, 16, was found inside a home on Pine Street in Bushnell on Nov. 5 after Peavy took Jackson and her friend to the home.

Peavy was a family friend and a colleague of Jackson's father, deputies said.

Deputies said one of the girls called and a well-being check was requested. The Daily Commercial newspaper published court documents that stated Jackson's cause of death was "ligature strangulation," adding, "The black tape was so tight around the victim's mouth and neck that it appeared to create skin folds on the back of the victim's neck."

Peavy was seen driving in the Fort Pierce area on Nov. 7, where officials said he later abandoned his vehicle.

At the end of November, the reward for anyone who might have any information on Peavy's whereabouts was increased from $5,000 to $10,000.

Officials said Peavy has warrants for his arrest, including first-degree murder, kidnap - false imprisonment, sexual assault with a weapon or force, and kidnap-commit or facilitate the commission of a felony.

Jackson's mother, Nycole Jackson, told News 6 that she received a call Friday afternoon from a friend who said they planned to help Peavy turn himself in.

Nycole Jackson said she called detectives and let them know what the friend had told her.

Jackson said when she called detectives back, they told her that Peavy was in custody after finding him in the parking lot of a local Walmart.

The friend who notified Jackson, Melissa Sturgill, was also arrested for helping Peavy avoid capture. Peavy and Sturgill have a child together.

Jackson said Sturgill actually drove Peavy to see their child, before they planned to drive to the police department to turn him in.

"I was shaking and I wasn't happy at first because I didn't really know how it was going to go down. I was more scared than anything," Jackson said. "I want him to feel the pain and the hurt and the fear that my daughter felt. What he put her through."

Jackson said that she wants answers only Peavy can provide, to fill in the gaps of her daughter's last moments alive.

"I want to know what made him want to do this. What could she have possibly done," Jackson said.

Peavy refused to make his first appearance before a judge Saturday morning in Lake County. He will be extradited to Sumter County Jail, where he will be held without bail. Peavy is set to appear in court Jan. 22, records show.

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