‘Far from the truth:’ Marion sheriff addresses rumors of serial killer after 3 teens fatally shot

16-year-old taken to hospital in critical condition died, officials say

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – After three teens were fatally shot last week, the Marion County sheriff is addressing rumors surrounding their mystery deaths.

Deputies said a 16-year-old girl, Layla Silvernail, was found shot on the side of the road Thursday in the area of the Forest Lakes Park neighborhood on SE 183rd Avenue Road. She was taken to a hospital in critical condition, where she later died, sheriff’s officials confirmed Tuesday to News 6.

[RELATED: 16-year-old found dead in Marion County days after 2 teens discovered shot along road, deputies say]

The next morning, a 17-year-old boy, whose name has not been released, was found shot to death less than a mile away near SE 94th Street and SE 188th Court.

The sheriff’s office said another teen, a 16-year-old girl, was found dead with a gunshot wound on Saturday in a vehicle partially submerged near Malauka Loop and Malauka Loop Trace. The vehicle belonged to Silvernail, according to deputies.


Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods on Monday shared a video update about the shootings, denying rumors of a fourth victim and that a serial killer is on the loose.

“That is far from the truth. Now, I have the facts of what we know right now and I can give you that assurance, so do not speculate on social media. Because one of the things I want each of you to think of and try to remember when you start to type is that there are family members out there reading it,” Woods said. “And some of you, you make s*** up. And it’s devastating to that family, and you need to stop.”

A GoFundMe organized by the softball community for Silvernail, who was described as a gifted player, said in an update that the teen showed no sign of brain activity and her family planned to donate her organs to help others.

The sheriff also called on the community to come forward with any information that could help in the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call 352-368-3542 or call Crimeline to remain anonymous at 352-368-7867.

An investigation is ongoing.

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About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.