A remote dirt road in south Polk County where three friends were slain was a popular spot for teens to party but there’s no sign the victims planned anything other than a Friday night fishing trip, Sheriff Grady Judd said Monday.
“This is a party location, kids show up Friday and Saturday night to drink, smoke dope,” Judd said in an interview with 970-WFLA radio. “There’s no indication this was a dope deal gone bad.”
Detectives are working round the clock to find whoever beat and shot the three men. Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27, planned to go fishing in Lake Streety in Frostproof, Judd said.
The rural location made it attractive for partiers, detectives learned from people who live nearby. Detectives believe there was more than one killer.
“It’s way out in the country, a little clay road,” Judd said. “It’s used as ingress and egress for cow pastures, orange groves and Lake Streety. It’s a road to no place, three miles long.”
When deputies arrived on the scene, they found the two vehicles that carried the three men parked in the middle of road, Tillman’s facing south and the other vehicle facing north.
Judd said they may have pulled up to speak to one another before they were killed or the second vehicle may have pulled up to Tillman’s vehicle to find he had been slain.
Rollins survived long enough to call his father by cell phone but only managed to say, “Help,” Judd said.
“Dad knew where they were and raced out to find (the) best buddies shot dead and his son taking his last breath,” Judd said Monday.
He added, “We got some communication between father and son,” but not any names.
“If we knew, we would have them in custody.”
Based on the crime scene, detectives believe there is more than one suspect, Judd said at a press conference Monday afternoon. The department is not yet publicly releasing how the bodies were found or Rollins’s final words to his father, he said. But those details gave detectives “a lot of information” to help the investigation.
Detectives don’t know if the men were robbed, Judd said, but they did find items of value still in the truck that weren’t taken.
The Sheriff’s Office needs the public’s help to solve the slayings, he said, asking anyone with information to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477). Information leading to an arrest in the case — even submitted anonymously — qualifies for a $30,000 reward.
“We’ve got to get them out of the community before they kill someone else,” Judd said, “and there’s no reason not to kill someone else. They’ve already killed.”