72ºF

Friends hopeful remains found in DeLand aren't of missing teen

FDLE says it's investigating link between body found in DeLand, missing teen

DeLAND, Fla. – The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said on Thursday that it is investigating a link between a body found in DeLand on April 18 and a missing 16-year-old.

The missing teen's friends told News 6 that they are hopeful that their friend is still alive.

Mount Dora police said Justis Garrett, 16, was last seen in Lake County on April 13.

Danielle Higbie, 16, said that Garrett had moved to Mount Dora from New Smyrna Beach a couple of months ago and was on her way for a visit, but was first making a stop in DeLand.

"She's just a beautiful soul, like, she's beautiful in and out. And she's smart," Higbie said. "One minute you are, like, hanging out with them and texting them all the time and making memories with them, and the next thing you're just, like, you don't know what to do. They are not there."

Garrett's family and friends have posted missing fliers around New Smyrna Beach, hoping someone has seen her.

"You can't think those bad thoughts because what if she is alive and, even if something bad did happen to her, we are always going to have that memory of her," Higbie said.

Garrett's father told News 6 over the phone Thursday that Mount Dora officers took a sample of his DNA.

The FDLE has not confirmed the identity of the body found in DeLand.

[RELATED: Jogging club finds decomposed woman's body in DeLand]

Anyone with information about Garrett's disappearance is asked to call Mount Dora police at 352-735-7130.


About the Author: