54-year-old Michael Troy Hutto, one of the wealthy co-founders of the Salt Life clothing brand, and the man who originally coined the term, has been arrested in Florida and charged with manslaughter after fatally shooting an 18-year-old woman inside a hotel room. The victim, Lora Grace Duncan, was found dead on Thursday morning in a room at the Hilton Oceanfront resort on Singer Island.
Hutto went to a nearby hospital after the killing for an unspecified medical emergency. He was arrested when leaving the hospital and charged with manslaughter, as well as a firearm possession violation. He is currently being held without bail.
🔸FHP Arrests Murder Suspect from South Florida🔸
Great teamwork with Rivera Beach PD to bring this suspect to justice. Michael Troy Hutto was arrested at Baptist South for the recent murder of a teenager in South Florida. Hutto was delivered to Duval County Pre-Trial by FHP. pic.twitter.com/6UsXpipvFW
— FHPJacksonville (@FHPJacksonville) October 30, 2020
After news of the arrest spread online, the Salt Life corporation made a clarifying statement on its Facebook page, pointing out that Hutto sold his share of the business in 2013, and is no longer affiliated with the brand. While the company admitted that Hutto was “charged with a felony,” its statement did not go into the specifics of the incident, and did not mention that he was arrested for killing a young woman more than half his age.
The statement read: “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. 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.”
Duncan‘s body was found on Thursday morning, October 30th, around 11:30 a.m, after police were sent to the hotel to check on Duncan’s welfare. Police have not revealed any details about how Duncan and Hutto knew each other, but her parents called police to check on her daughter, suspecting that something was wrong.
News4Jax obtained these photos of 18 yo Grace Duncan. The Lake City teen was found shot to death inside a Riviera Beach hotel room. The co-founder of Salt Life, Troy Hutto, is charged w/ manslaughter. @wjxt4
Photos: Captured Memories by Esta.https://t.co/0O04mo4i5N pic.twitter.com/2S3EZ7ROPK
— Corley Peel (@WJXT_CorleyPeel) October 31, 2020
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said that Duncan had “voluntarily left the county with a known individual,” according to AJC.
The young woman reportedly died of a single gunshot wound.
“We have the deepest sympathy for the victim’s family in this tragic incident. Although we expect a better outcome, we will assist in bringing those responsible to justice in every way possible,” Columbia County Sheriff Mark Hunter said in a press release.
In 2003, Hutto coined the phrase ‘Salty Life’ to represent the ocean-based lifestyle that defines the lifestyle and beachwear clothing brand. Hutto said he had used the phrase ‘salty life’ for years before thinking about what would be a brand name.