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FDLE: Remains found in DeLand belong to missing 16-year-old girl

Justis Garrett's body found April 18

Justis Garrett, 16, was last seen in Mount Dora on April 13. FDLE agents say her body was found in DeLand on April 18.

DeLAND, Fla. – The body found last month in DeLand belongs to that of a missing Lake County 16-year-old girl, officials with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed Monday.

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

Her remains were found off Gasline Road in DeLand on April 18 by a group of runners. FDLE officials confirmed the the body was Garrett's through DNA analysis.

Garrett had moved to Mount Dora from New Smyrna Beach a couple of months ago and was on her way for a visit to Volusia County when she was last seen.

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

When a woman's body was found in the wooded area off Galine Road, Garrett's friends remained hopeful that it wasn't the 16-year-old.

Investigators have not released a cause of death.

"She's just a beautiful soul, like, she's beautiful in and out. And she's smart," friend Danielle Higbie, 16, 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."

FDLE is still investigating the case and asked anyone who may have seen anything suspicious along Gasline Road during the last several weeks to call Crimeline at 800-423-8477 (TIPS).


About the Author:

Emilee Speck

Emilee is a digital journalist for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com, where she writes about space and Central Florida news. Previously, Emilee was a space writer and web editor for the Orlando Sentinel and a producer at the Naples Daily News. Emilee is a Space Coast native and graduate of the University of North Florida journalism program.

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