BITHLO, Fla. – Two teens have been arrested and charged with stealing the vehicle found after the hit-and-run crash that killed a 15-year-old boy early Wednesday in Orange County, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The FHP said Nathan Franceschi, of Orlando, died in the crash, which was reported around 2 a.m. on Carpenter Road near East Colonial Drive near Bithlo.
Troopers said Franceschi was walking in an unknown direction on Carpenter Road, one-tenth of a mile from Grissom Road, when he was struck by a vehicle. The driver fled the scene, authorities said.
Troopers said the 16-year-old cousin of the victim and person of interest in his death admitted to stealing the 2013 Kia that was found damaged.
A man on his way home spotted the victim lying on the ground and called 911, troopers told News 6.
Franceschi was taken to Florida Hospital East, where he died, the FHP said.
Troopers said a damaged 2013 four-door Kia reported stolen overnight from the same area was located at a nearby Burger King. A 16-year-old boy, who is Franceschi's cousin, and a 16-year-old girl were arrested on allegations of stealing the car, but it's not known if the Kia is connected to the hit-and-run. FHP conducted forensic testing underneath the Kia on Wednesday afternoon, but it is yet to be determined if the vehicle is related to the homicide.
FHP said that troopers took both teens to the hospital because they were under the influence of drugs. Neighbors said a "bad batch of Xanax is going around" their neighborhood. Investigators said they were also told that by people who live in the area.
Troopers also said burglaries were reported in the area around the same time, but it's not known if they are related to the incident.
News 6 spoke with Franceschi's family who described him as a great teen. His family's home is only about a mile from where he was killed.
A woman who identified herself as the victim's aunt said the family is collecting funds to pay for his funeral, and is completely devastated by what happened.
Franceschi's aunt also told News 6 that she didn't believe his cousin ran him over, and instead believes a second car is involved.
News 6 also spoke with one of the victim's friends who has known him since second grade.
"He was a very nice person, but it's tragic what happened here," said a classmate of the victim. "He's friends with almost everyone out here. He doesn't really have much enemies. Like, everyone is friends with him pretty much and, like, everyone is sad about the news that they've heard and it's just saddening pretty much. It's depressing."
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