A man who co-founded a popular beach clothing brand Salt Life in Jacksonville Beach has been arrested following the shooting death of an 18-year-old Columbia County woman at a Riviera Beach hotel.
Michael Troy Hutto, 58, was arrested by Florida Highway Patrol troopers Friday night at Baptist Medical Center South.
Hutto was jailed without bail on warrants charging him with manslaughter and felony possession of a firearm Saturday at the Duval County Jail, according to Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office inmate records.
The Highway Patrol said Hutto is a suspect in the death of Lora Grace Duncan of Lake City.
Duncan was found fatally shot inside a room at the Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront/Palm Beaches Resort on Thursday morning. She had at least one gunshot wound, according to Riviera Beach police.
When arrested, Hutto was wearing green hospital scrubs and red skid-proof socks. He was wearing handcuffs when placed into a Highway Patrol car, photos posted on the agency’s Twitter account show.
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said its detectives had been looking for Duncan since Monday Oct. 26 when her parents asked sheriff’s deputies to do a welfare check on her.
At that time, investigators learned she had voluntarily left the county with a known individual, the Columbia Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
The detectives then determined Duncan possibly was at a Riviera Beach hotel, and asked city police to do a welfare check on her. Arriving officers found Duncan dead inside one of the hotel rooms.
“Our deepest sympathies go out to the victim’s family of this tragic event. Although we hoped for a better outcome, we will assist in any way possible to help bring those responsible to justice,” Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said in the news release.
The Highway Patrol said troopers took Hutto into custody without incident at the hospital. Information wasn’t available about why he was at the hospital. Inmate records show Hutto was booked into the Duval jail early Friday evening,
It was unclear, police said, what relationship if any, Hutto and Duncan had at the time of her death.
Salt Life issued a statement Saturday on Facebook saying that Hutto and other original co-founders have not been involved with the company for seven years.
“Sadly we have learned one of Salt Life’s co-founders has been charged with a felony. Salt Life sends their utmost sympathies to the family and friends of the deceased,” the company posted on Saturday. “In 2013, the co-founders of Salt Life sold their entire business to the new owners. The co-founders have not been associated with the brand in any way since the purchase in 2013.”
State voter registration records list Hutto’s most recent address as Wellborn, Fl.
In 2003, Hutto coined the phrase “Salt Life” to describe the ocean-based lifestyle that identified the lifestyle and beach attire clothing of the company he co-founded and served as president, a 2008 Times-Union article showed.
Hutto said back then that he’d been using the phrase “salt life” for years before he ever thought it could be a selling point for beach attire.
The Jacksonville Beach native and his friends were “hardcore fishermen,” surfers and deep-water divers. He would sum up their daily activities as “living the salt life.”
The company grew from a small homegrown enterprise to a well-known brand over the years.
This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Salt Life clothing co-founder arrested in Riviera Beach shooting death