‘I’ll pray for their souls:’ Sumter County teens found slain likely knew their killer, deputies say

Sumter County Sheriff’s Office seeking community tips

(Left) Preston Nixon, 16 (Right) Isaiah Nelson, 17
(Left) Preston Nixon, 16 (Right) Isaiah Nelson, 17 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

SUMTER COUNTY, Fla. – A truck driver making stops in Wildwood came upon the bodies of 16 and 17-year-old boys who detectives say were shot along a Sumter County road.

Preston Wayne Nixon, 16, and Isaiah Alexander Nelson, 17, both of Wildwood, have been identified as the victims of homicide.

Sumter County Sheriff Capt. Jon Galvin provided an update on the investigation Thursday in a video. He said both victims had gunshot wounds.

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“This is a tragedy, and it has deeply impacted our community,” Galvin said.

According to a 911 call released by the sheriff’s office Thursday, a truck driver making stops in the area came upon the bodies on the side of County Road 219. The stunned caller said the bodies were in front of a house along the road and were beyond help.

“I just found two dead bodies,” the caller said. “I’m shaking right now.”

The man warned off other drivers coming down CR-219, telling them to turn around and avoid seeing the bodies.

“They’re just laying on the ground,” he said. “They’re lying right beside the road.”

The 911 caller, in fear, asked dispatch to send an officer as soon as possible.

“I’ll pray for their souls. I can’t believe this,” he said.

Galvin said detectives believe the teens knew the shooter(s) and are seeking the community’s help bringing them to justice.

“We believe at this time that both victims may have known their assailant,” Galvin said. “Our detectives are working tirelessly to follow up any leads and we’re asking the community’s help to solve this brutal and senseless murder.”

Both teens were homeschooled at the time of their deaths and were not enrolled in Sumter County Public Schools.

Nelson has family and friends who attend Wildwood Middle School and Wildwood elementary. Grief counselors were on the campuses this week following the tragedy.