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Drowning cut short life of artistic Tampa teen

TAMPA — The phone kept ringing Thursday afternoon.

Johnell Bolds, 71, picked up the receiver only to be peppered with questions — some he could answer, some he couldn't.

It had been two days since officers knocked on the door to his home in Belmont Heights Estates and told him his granddaughter, 17-year-old Jerridedan "KiKi" Lakisha Bolds Froyer, was found dead in the Peace River in Arcadia. Two men have since been charged in connection with her death.

"She had my picture with her. She always had my picture. They showed me her ID and the picture," said Bolds, a retired cook.

The drowning cut short the life of an aspiring artist, celebrity culture fanatic and lover of all things Disney Channel, said her older brother, 21-year-old Charles Jerran Bolds.

"She was a strong individual. She was real outgoing and intelligent," the Hillsborough County College student said. "She loved High School Musical. That was her favorite."

The end began Sunday in Ybor City, according to the DeSoto County Sheriff's Office.

She was with Mark Huntley, 28, when she met Andrew Skevington, 28, of Arcadia and embarked on a road trip. The trio stopped on a bridge in DeSoto County's Morgan Park for a swim.

Deputies said KiKi told the men she couldn't swim, but Huntley pushed her into the 11-foot-deep river anyway. Huntley and Skevington jumped in to try to save her, but couldn't.

Witnesses called 911. Two days later, her body was found 3 miles down river.

Johnell and Charles Bolds say they have never met Huntley, although deputies have said the man was KiKi's boyfriend.

The girl had dropped out of Middleton High School and began not coming home for days at time, Johnell Bolds said. The weekend KiKi died was one of many that he had to report his granddaughter missing because she hadn't come home.

"She just wanted to be free," Charles Bolds said of his sister.

Johnell Bolds received custody of his three granddaughters in 2002 and quickly noticed KiKi's talent for drawing. "She would just draw everything," he said.

Fostering that drive, KiKi entered contests while at Lockhart Elementary and Orange Grove Middle Magnet and usually placed near the top, Charles Bolds said. In 2009, she received a presidential award for outstanding academic achievement. The unframed certificate hangs in her grandfather's living room.

Both now arrested, Huntley faces a charge of manslaughter and Skevington a charge of manslaughter accessory after the fact. Deputies said the men gathered KiKi's belongings and fled the river before deputies arrived.

Funeral services were being arranged at Temple of Apostles Church, 3505 N Central Ave.

Drowning cut short life of artistic Tampa teen 09/13/12 [Last modified: Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:49pm]
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